Burnley MP says Government 'stay local' advice for areas hardest hit by Covid variant not a direct order

Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham has told the Express that new Government advice asking people to avoid travelling in and out of areas hardest hit by the Indian Covid variant is more about being ‘cautious’ than a direct order.

Burnley along with a number of areas in the country including Blackburn and Bolton, has been identified as one of the boroughs where the variant is spreading fastest.

On Friday, the Government updated its website advising people living in these locations to meet outside where possible, and to avoid travelling in or out of affected areas.

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However, Mr Higginbotham said as long as people continued to play their part, which included getting tested twice a week and going for the Covid jab when eligible, the roadmap should remain on track.

Burnley has been identified as one of the areas where the new Indian Covid variant is spreading fastest

Mr Higginbotham said: "In the last few days we have vaccinated record numbers of people, with more than 60 million doses administered across the country. But with new variants emerging it’s really important that we remain cautious so we can continue to move in the right direction.

"The latest Government guidance makes clear that for areas like Burnley, where there has been signs of the variant first identified in India being present, that caution is particularly important.

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"That means getting tested twice a week, going for the Covid jab as soon as you’re eligible, and being responsible and cautious with the easing of restrictions so we don’t undo the progress made.

"With the thousands of extra vaccines and tests being made available to us locally, we can see a way to stick with the roadmap if we all continue to play our part."

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The Government advice stated the people living in affected areas like Burnley should:

- meet outside rather than inside where possible

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- keep 2 metres apart from people that you don’t live with (unless you have formed a support bubble with them), this includes friends and family you don’t live with

- avoid travelling in and out of affected areas unless it is essential, for example for work (if you cannot work from home) or education

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Burnley recorded 11 positive Covid-19 tests today, with four yesterday. The seven-day rolling rate as of May 19th was 73.1 per 100,000 people.