Council and health bosses in Liverpool are issuing warnings as the city’s Covid-19 rate continues to increase and with growing concerns about those arriving here from badly hit areas.
Having turned the tide on the virus and brought its infection rate down to under 90 cases per 100,000 people earlier this month – things are now moving in the wrong direction once again.
The latest data shows that more than 100 new cases were located in the city on four successive days between Monday and Thursday last week.
The city’s infection rate has jumped to around 130 cases per 100,000 and there are growing concerns about those coming into the city to either try and take advantage of the current Tier 2 freedoms or returning from badly hit areas to stay with family.
There have been multiple reports of people entering the city from higher tier areas like Greater Manchester – including a clip showing a group of young girls, drinking on a train and showing off about ‘sneaking into Tier 2’ because ‘Boris has beef with Manchester’.
The ECHO has also been contacted by an employee at a city casino who said he is regularly dealing with customers who have openly told him they have travelled into Liverpool from higher tier areas such as Manchester.
The city council has taken action against eight taxi drivers who had arrived to trade in Liverpool from areas as far away as Bolton.
Over the weekend, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that London and other parts of the South East had been put into a new higher Tier 4 level of restrictions because of a huge surve of Covid-19 cases and a new, highly infection strain of the virus.
Despite people in these areas being told to stay at home, images and video footage emerged over the weekend showing thousands of people at train stations heading north to be with family over the festive period.
This is another major concern for cities like Liverpool that have worked hard to keep the virus at bay.
The city’s Director of Public Health Matt Ashton has urged anyone arriving in the city to get tested at one of the asymptomatic testing centres here.
He also took to twitter last night to plead with train operators London Northwestern and Avanti West Coast to remind passengers arriving in Liverpool to abide by social distancing rules and get tested when they arrive.
Speaking about the latest developments, Liverpool Council’s cabinet member for health, Cllr Paul Brant urged people in Liverpool to limit social contact.
He said: “Many people will be concerned about the Government announcements over the weekend.
“In Liverpool we have managed to suppress the virus levels thanks to the collective efforts of our residents.
“With Christmas almost upon us, it is important to remember the importance of the need to protect our loved ones from the risk of infections. The virus does not take Christmas off.
“Please minimise social contact where possible, and remember that social distancing measures, regular hand washing and face coverings are our first and most effective method of protecting each other.
“Regular use of the testing sites for people without symptoms is an extra Liverpool specific line of protection and I would urge any visitors to the city to ensure they make regular use of these free facilities.
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“A negative test result is some reassurance, but is not a guarantee of negative status, so people should not see it as a free pass not to follow the rules.
He added: “The vaccine rollout programme is well underway in the city and will continue to be ramped up – especially as new vaccines are authorised.
“We all need to remember that just because the rules might allow some contact, if it can be postponed until after loved ones are vaccinated then the risk to all is substantially reduced. Every family must make their own decision, but my family have agreed to postpone our Christmas get together until summer – to have an Australian style Christmas BBQ in July next year.”