A Covid warning has been issued by the government for around a dozen areas across England where the Delta variant is said to be spreading rapidly.
People living in the affected local authorities, from Bedford to Blackpool and London to Liverpool, are being urged to take particular caution in the coming weeks, including limiting indoor interactions and avoiding travel into or out of those areas.
The spread of the Delta variant, first detected in India, has caused a spike in coronavirus cases sufficient to cause the government to delay the next stage of unlocking until the middle of next month at the earliest.
Scientists have said the Delta variant is 40-60 per cent more transmissible than than the Alpha strain, which first emerged in Kent last year.
An analysis of almost 20,000 coronavirus infections across Scotland has also shown the Delta variant almost doubles the risk of people being admitted to hospital.
Here are the areas where the government says the Delta variant is spreading fastest:
- Bedford Borough Council
- Birmingham City Council
- Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council
- Blackpool Council
- Cheshire East Council
- Cheshire West and Chester Council
- Greater Manchester Combined Authority (Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan)
- Kirklees Council
- Lancashire County Council (Burnley, Chorley, Fylde, Hyndburn, Lancaster, Pendle, Preston, Ribble Valley, Rossendale, South Ribble, West Lancashire, Wyre)
- Leicester City Council
- Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens, Wirral)
- London Borough of Hounslow
- North Tyneside Council
- Warrington Borough Council
In the areas listed, the government suggests people should try to meet those outside their household outside rather than inside where possible and to minimise travel in and out of affected areas.
People living in the affected communigties are also being urged to get tested twice a week and continue to work from home if you can.
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