NOW "more than ever" everybody in the district and wider region needs to pull together to halt increasing Covid-19 infection rates.

That's the resounding message from senior figures in the community as the number of cases – and hospital admissions – continues to rise.

And there is a warning that if the situation doesn't improve, West Yorkshire – currently in the second-tier high alert level – could face even tougher restrictions.

Tim Kingsman – co-chairman of the local resilience forum West Yorkshire Prepared and West Yorkshire's Assistant Chief Constable – said: “We know people are becoming extremely jaded with being told what they can and can’t do, with some choosing to ignore the legislation and guidance put in place by the Government.

"But West Yorkshire’s Covid-19 rates have been consistently increasing in recent weeks so now more than ever we really need everyone to work together to protect our communities and tackle the spread of infection.

"If we can all do everything we possibly can as individuals to take responsibility for protecting ourselves, families, neighbours and wider communities, we might have a positive impact in reducing the number of infections.

"Although West Yorkshire has been rated as Tier 2 for now, if the rate of infection continues to rise it may not stay that way."

Under the current restrictions, people must not socialise with anybody outside their household/support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place, or socialise in a group of more than six outside – including in a garden or other space such as a park.

Bradford Council leader, Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, and the leaders of West Yorkshire's other local authorities met with Government officials late last week to discuss the situation in the region. A further meeting is planned for this week.

Councillor Hinchcliffe said: "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 and we share its 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 per cent of people self-isolate when they have symptoms. If everyone self-isolated for the full ten days, then we’d be able to arrest the rise of the infection rate and avoid further restrictions."

She added: "Professor Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer for England, has 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."

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