BETWEEN half and 70 per cent of Covid-19 cases in the district are now down to the new strain of the virus, latest figures show.

The variant is much more infectious and is leading to rising numbers of hospitalisations.

Now district and regional health chiefs are urging the public to redouble its efforts to help stop the spread of the virus, by sticking to lockdown rules and strictly following safety guidelines.

There are fears that some people may have dropped their guard due to ‘Covid fatigue’ and the launch of vaccines.

“We all need to do as much as we can to stem the spread of the new variant and reduce pressures on hospitals and the NHS while they roll-out the vaccines,” said Sarah Muckle, Bradford Council’s director of public health.

“When Covid measures were first introduced we were all very careful about staying safe but now there is a danger that we may have let our standards slip almost a year into this crisis.

“Now is the time to check we are all washing our hands for a full 20 seconds every time we arrive at a new destination, that we are keeping at least two – if not three – metres from people from other households and that we are wearing face masks over the nose and mouth where required.

“Not only will this help reduce infections and hospital admissions, but it will also ease pressure on the NHS so those who need help with medical issues that are not Covid-related can be seen quicker.

“The council will be encouraging staff and visitors to adopt three-metre social distancing in all its buildings where possible given the highly infectious nature of the virus.”

Robin Tuddenham, co-chairman of local resilience forum West Yorkshire Prepared, said the situation was “very serious and stark”.

He added: “We’re hopeful the national lockdown has been introduced in time but everyone needs to do even more than they did last March, during the first lockdown, if we’re to prevent infection rates spiralling out of control and our hospitals being pushed to the brink.”

Under lockdown rules, people should only leave their home for essential reasons including food shopping and medical purposes, or to exercise – once a day and within your local area. For full details, visit