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Source: City of Coventry

Published Monday, 21 December 2020

The threat of a new variant of Coronavirus means Coventry residents cannot lower their guard over the Christmas period.

The threat of a new variant of Coronavirus means Coventry residents cannot lower their guard over the Christmas period.

The warning comes after swathes of the country was placed into Tier 4 over the weekend after details that a new variant of COVID is spreading much more quickly putting significant and rising pressure on hospitals and the NHS.

It is now illegal to travel to or from a Tier 4 area where Christmas bubbles have also been scrapped. Christmas bubbles for those living outside Tier 4 areas – such as Coventry – can meet with no more than two other households on Christmas Day only.

People who have recently returned from a Tier 4 area to the region are urged to self-isolate for 10 days, as part of a joint statement from the Directors of Public Health in the West Midlands.

This means remaining inside the house where they’re staying for the whole 10 days. Other people who live in the house do not need to self-isolate unless they get symptoms, but no visitors should be allowed in that house at all, even on Christmas Day. Even if you have a negative test, you should continue to self-isolate.

Liz Gaulton, Director of Public Health at Coventry City Council, said it was critical people continued to follow all of the advice and regulations over the Christmas period.

“This year has been so challenging for all of us and I know that so many of us were looking forward to the Christmas period for a bit of normality in such a tough year,” she said.

“But the events of the weekend have shown that we cannot let our collective guards down over Christmas as, although we are in Tier 3, our rates are rising and the new variant could well already be circulating around our region.

“What we do know is that the measures that stop COVID spreading will also work against this new variant.

“That means things like hands, face, space is absolutely essential as they do work which is why it is so important we do not relax over Christmas. We must continue to do the right thing 100% of the time, avoid close contact with anyone not in our bubble especially when in closed spaces where the virus can transmit more easily.”

Other advice for the Christmas period includes:

  • You must not travel to Tier 4 areas. Travelling in and out of different tiers risks increasing the speed that the new variant will spread across the country
  • Although Coventry is in Tier 3, our rates are increasing and it is probable that the new variant is circulating. Therefore, keep your contact to a minimum and act like people you see have the virus.
  • Think ‘should I do this given what we know about the new form of the virus’ not ‘can I do this within the rules’
  • You can only meet your Christmas bubble on the 25th December. Keep your visit as short as possible, as few people as possible and outdoors if you can
  • Look out for other people but pick up the phone or see people virtually to check if they are okay

Liz added: “I know it has been such a difficult year, but it is so important we continue to build on what we have achieved so far so we will be able to see our friends and family as soon as possible.

“But we need to hold off for a little longer and let the NHS do its work treating people with COVID and other critical health needs and give them the time to roll out the vaccine. The NHS really need our help at this time.”

Anyone who shows any symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how mild, should book a free test immediately by calling 119 or visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

MIL OSI United Kingdom