COUNCILLOR Susan Hinchcliffe, leader of Bradford Council, has issued the following statement:

"Yesterday leaders of the five West Yorkshire authorities were invited to a briefing given by the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, Jenny Harries, looking at the epidemiology of the virus in West Yorkshire. There was no discussion about moving to a higher alert level.

“Our infection rates are high, not yet as high as the North West but they are increasing. Government is obviously taking great interest in our infection figures. We share the Government’s concern. The number of hospital admissions and tragically deaths is still rising, nor is it just elderly people who are being affected. Our number one priority is to take the most effective action possible to tackle the virus, protect people and save lives.

“The council cannot do this alone, it is the responsibility of all of us to play our part in beating this virus. It is crucially important that we follow the current rules and guidance, especially the instructions on self-isolating to prevent the spread of infection. Latest research nationally shows that only 18% of people self-isolate when they have symptoms. If everyone self-isolated for the full 10 days, then we’d be able to arrest the rise of the infection rate and avoid further restrictions.

“Leaders in our region are united in our call for more resources to implement effective local health measures to tackle the pandemic in our region. This must include more support for local test and trace, community engagement and more support for people to self-isolate.

“Earlier this week Professor Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer for England, publicly praised the work that we have done in Bradford to tackle the virus. I want to thank Bradford district residents for all you have done so far to help. But we still have a long way to go to beat the virus. That’s why I’m asking everyone to keep going with the regulations – stay apart, wash your hands, wear a face covering and self-isolate if you have symptoms.

“The Government have asked to meet with us again next week although no date is set yet. We will be stressing with the Government how local measures like test and trace, more home testing and support to self-isolate can play a major role in bringing down infection rates when we meet with them again early next week. “We expect the Government to engage in open, constructive discussions about how to strengthen the health measures to tackle the virus, without doing further damage to the economy, jobs and livelihoods.”