Blackpool hit with new Covid travel advice to stop Delta variant

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New guidance and support issued by government to tackle Delta variant

People in Blackpool are being urged to minimise travel in and out of area as a new package of support is announced to tackle rising Covid-19 rates and the spread of the Delta variant.

The seaside town was exempt from changes introduced across the rest of Lancashire last week as they were redefined as ‘enhanced response areas’.

However in an announcement this afternoon (June 14), Health Secretary Matt Hancock has now included Blackpool along with five other areas of England – Birmingham, Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Liverpool City Region and Warrington.

It comes as Blackpool recorded a further 66 new coronavirus cases in the latest 24-hour period. Its infection rate for the week ending June 7 stood at 158.5.

The additional government support, which is the same as was announced for Greater Manchester and Lancashire last week, will include surge testing, tracing, isolation support and maximising vaccine uptake.

This support will be led by local authorities, who will have a range of help offered. It includes:

– Additional resources to help local authorities with testing, logistics, planning and workforce to assist with testing, door-to-door visits to engage with residents and other activities. These may come from the Surge Rapid Response Teams, from military aid or other sources depending on requirements.

– Wastewater testing samples being prioritised for sequencing

– Specialist communications support to increase awareness and focus engagement with disadvantaged groups

– Maximising vaccine uptake by expanding existing channels, developing new capacity and increasing local and targeted communications to reach different communities;

– Supervised in-school testing and discretion to reintroduce face coverings in indoor communal areas and classrooms in schools if they and directors of public health decide it is appropriate;

– Surge testing and enhanced contact tracing; and

– Enhanced monitoring (genomic sequencing, genotype assay testing).

Mr Hancock said: “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.

“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.”