The Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council has welcomed the pause to national lockdown easing announced today as cases of the Delta variant increase in the borough.
Cllr Louise Gittins is urging residents, businesses and communities to play their part to turn things around as latest data shows the infection rate reaching 113 per 100,000 people in Cheshire West and Chester as of 9 June.
Early testing data shows that at least 85% of these cases are the new Delta variant, first identified in India.
The national roadmap had previously listed 21 June as the earliest date by which legal limits on social contact could be removed, all premises could reopen, including nightclubs, and restrictions could be eased on large events and performances.
The government today announced that it was extending this by four weeks.
Cllr Gittins said: "It goes without saying that I am disappointed we will not see the easing of restrictions that we had all hoped for on 21 June – but it makes a lot of sense to delay this for four weeks.
"In our borough we have seen how quickly the new Delta variant spreads, so to unlock completely now would have been unwise.
"This is why I welcome this delay, which gives us more chance to limit the spread of the virus and to find out whether the rising infection rate causes a rise in people being admitted to hospital.
"I cannot stress enough the importance of getting your vaccine when it is offered to you – and if you have been offered it in the past but didn't take up that chance it is not too late. This is our best form of defence against COVID-19, both as individuals and as a community.
"Alongside this it is vital to keep washing or sanitising your hands regularly, wear a face covering in enclosed spaces and keep two metres away from anyone who you don't live with or who isn't in your support bubble.
"Minimise how much you travel, work from home as much as possible and, if you are socialising, try to stay outdoors in the fresh air.
"I would like to thank all our local residents and businesses for all that they have done to combat this virus so far and I am disappointed that we still need to keep these measures in place, but it's important for us all to play our part to tackle COVID-19."
Anyone aged 23 and over is invited to book their COVID-19 vaccine. Visit: www.cheshireccg.nhs.uk for more information.
There are significant outbreaks in the Northwich and Winsford areas and anyone who lives or works in those areas is being asked to book a COVID-19 test called a PCR test, whether or not they have symptoms or have been vaccinated.
To book a test visit: www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test and select 'My local council or health protection team has asked me to get a test, even though I do not have symptoms' or call 119.
In Northwich a mobile PCR testing unit is currently based in Cumberland Car Park, Leicester Street,. This is for pre-booked appointments from noon to 8pm. Another PCR local testing centre is located at the Old Depot, Leicester Street. This provides PCR tests daily from 8am-8pm.
In Winsford there is a mobile PCR testing unit in the car park of Winsford Academy, with pre-booked appointments available from 9am to 4pm. There is also a PCR Testing Centre at Queensway. This provides PCR tests daily from 8am-8pm.
A pop-up PCR testing centre is also available in Road Three, in Winsford Industrial Estate, until Wednesday, 16 June. This is open from 9am to 4.30pm and no appointment is necessary.
In addition, all residents in the borough are asked to take no-symptoms COVID-19 tests, called Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs) twice a week.
For full information on where to get tested or pick up home testing kits visit: www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/c19testing.
Anyone with symptoms, including a new continuous cough, high temperature or loss or change in your sense of smell or taste, should self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test at: www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or call: 119.