Residents urged to stay home as Covid restrictions tightened
Residents are urged to stay home and not to meet anyone from other households from December 31 as Dudley borough moves into tier 4.
On December 19 the government announced its new stricter tier 4 restrictions in parts of England in response to the rapid acceleration of a new strain of the virus now circulating.
These restrictions are now being extended to other parts of the country, including Dudley and the whole of the West Midlands, to contain the transmission of this new strain.
Restrictions are similar to the last national lockdown in November and include:
- Residents should stay at home, unless they have a ‘reasonable excuse’ such as work or education
- All non-essential shops, personal care, indoor gyms and swimming pools must close
- You cannot meet other people indoors, unless you live with them or they are part of your support bubble
- Outdoors, you can only meet one person from another household
- You should not leave tier four areas or travel abroad, except in limited circumstances (including work and education)
Full details of tier 4 restrictions can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-4-stay-at-home
This new strain of Covid is believed to spread more rapidly, however despite the faster transmission rate, there is no evidence to suggest it causes a more severe illness.
Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for public health, said:
I want to thank you again for everything you are doing to stem the spread of this virus, but this new strain is sadly working against our efforts.
It’s passing from person to person far more easily, which means we have to be even more vigilant and limit who we come into contact with.
As one in three people who have Covid-19 have no symptoms, they could be spreading it without realising it, which means we all have to behave as if we, or those we come into contact with have the virus.
But we do know measures to stop COVID spreading will also work against this new variant. So hands, face, space continue to be absolutely essential.
We know the move into Tier 4 will be a disappointment to so many and bring further difficult times for residents and businesses, but we will continue to support you.
It’s vital we are all vigilant and we all play our part. We should stay at home and follow these rules to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities.
Bal Kaur, director of public health added:
Viruses do mutate and this has already happened a number of times to Covid-19 during this pandemic.
This new strain, which appears to spread more rapidly, is still being analysed by scientists but at this stage there is no evidence to suggest it causes a more severe illness or that it will not respond to the vaccine.
The vaccine is rolling out quickly across the region and I would urge everyone who is invited to receive it to have it.
In the meantime, you need to wash your hands regularly, wear a face covering where required and stay 2m apart from anyone who isn't a member of your household or bubble - hands, face, space.
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
Dudley borough has four test centres. Two walk-through test centres are 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 Dudley and Kingswinford Rugby Club in Swindon Road from December 24 to January 4 and also a mobile test site at Brierley Hill. For more information on Dudley borough test sites visit www.dudley.gov.uk/coronavirustesting
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