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Play your part in the Covid-19 fight this Christmas

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As Christmas approaches, people in Dudley are being urged to stick to government restrictions and think very carefully before seeing people from other households.

Over the weekend the government announced new stricter covid-19 restrictions in response to the rapid acceleration of a new strain of the virus now circulating in England, which is transmitting more quickly.

People in Dudley borough are being told they must play their part in slowing the spread - with the safest way of spending Christmas being at home, exclusively with members of the same household.

Dudley borough remains in tier 3 and while people are permitted to form a Christmas bubble with a maximum of two other households on Christmas Day, a rise in cases is expected and extreme caution is urged. People are reminded that they can no longer mix with other households on 24, 26, 27 and 28 December.

Anyone returning from a tier 4 area is advised to isolate. People from all tiers should avoid mixing and are encouraging to behave carefully as they or anyone could be carrying the virus.

People who are symptomatic must continue to isolate and should seek a test immediately. Test centres in the borough remain open during the Christmas period, including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day but will have a slight reduction in operating hours.

Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said:

We know these are incredibly difficult times for our communities and it is with a heavy heart that I come to people today to plead with them to think twice before seeing loved ones over the Christmas period.
We must all play our part and by spending Christmas exclusively with our own household members, we can help to reduce the spread and protect the most vulnerable people in our society.
I am hopeful that in 2021 the vaccine will offer hope and progress in our fight against the pandemic but in the meantime, we need a collective effort at a local, regional and national level.
Please behave as though you or any person you come into contact could have the virus and maintain a high level of vigilance and alert - anything less could have devastating consequences for you and the people you love.
Remember ‘Hands, Face, Space’, keep social mixing to an absolute minimum and always isolate and seek a test when symptomatic.

Dudley borough has four test centres. There are two walk-through test centres on Flood Street car park (off Oakeywell Street) in Dudley and on Jackson Street car park in Lye.

There is a drive through test centre at Himley Hall and Park, which will move to Dudley and Kingswinford Rugby Club in Swindon Road, from December 24 to 28. There is also mobile test site at Brierley Hill.

If people have coronavirus symptoms they should contact the NHS Test and Trace service as soon as possible to book an appointment by calling 119 or visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

Anyone testing positive for the virus in England will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help them track their contacts. This will help people to identify who they may have been in close contact with, protecting others from further transmission.

Close contacts of those testing positive will also hear from NHS Test and Trace, asking them to stay at home for 10 days to prevent them from unknowingly spreading the virus. They will be advised to also book a test if they develop
symptoms.

All people attending the centres must wear a face covering, except for children under three years old, who must observe social distancing on site. Children over three will only be admitted if they are wearing a face covering. If they cannot wear a face mask for medical reasons, then they should request a home test.

To book a test at one of our four testing sites in the borough visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119.

For more information on Dudley borough test sites visit www.dudley.gov.uk/coronavirustesting

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