The Government has announced additional support to help Birmingham, Blackpool, Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Liverpool City Region and Warrington tackle the Delta variant of COVID-19.
The news of the extra support came on the same day as the Prime Minister announced a four-week delay to the planned easing of lockdown on 21 June. Mr Johnson says the ‘terminus date’ for the end of lockdown will now be 19 July.
The additional support for the council areas named includes surge testing, tracing, isolation support and maximising vaccine uptake, and follows a similar announcement last week relating to Greater Manchester and Lancashire County Council areas.
The same package of support was also given to Bolton, which has since seen a decrease in cases.
‘We are doing everything we can to stop the spread of the Delta variant, and working with local authorities, we are providing a strengthened package of support in areas where cases of the variant are increasing,’ said health and social care secretary Matt Hancock.
‘We know this approach has made a real impact in South London and in Bolton where we have seen it stall rising cases.
‘I urge people living these areas to get tested, come forward for your vaccine as soon as you are eligible and make sure to get the all-important second jab – that is how we will beat this virus.’
Responding to the PM’s announcement that the final stage of the roadmap will be delayed, Cllr James Jamieson, chairman of the Local Government Association (LGA), said: ‘Councils, along with their communities, local NHS colleagues and national Government have worked extremely hard to get us to this point.
‘However, it is now clear there is still a short way to go before we can fully exit the recovery roadmap. It is vital that everyone continues to follow local advice to ensure we are all doing everything we possibly can to keep everyone safe.’
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