Health experts urge Bradford residents to continue to 'stay home' and put their own and others' safety first.
STAY home as much as possible – that continues to be the key message from public health experts to people living across Bradford District.
Bradford Council has joined other local authorities across West Yorkshire in encouraging residents to put their own and others' safety first by going further than the Government's "Stay Alert" message.
Bradford's public health experts say it's important not to divert from the original "Stay Home" message until the region starts to see a bigger decline in the spread of coronavirus infections.
New figures have revealed that the R value – the rate at which the virus is transmitted - for Yorkshire and North East is the highest in England (0.8), double the number for London (0.4). The bigger the number, the faster the virus is spreading in the community.
The Government's repeated objective has been to get the rate of infection below 1.0, before any revisions of lockdown would be considered.
"We are determined to take whatever proactive steps we can to protect our community and keep people safe and well," said Bradford's Director of Public Health, Sarah Muckle. "And that includes maintaining our 'stay home' focus.
"We were concerned that some people may interpret this week's gradual relaxing of lockdown measures to think that lives have gone back to normal - but they have not.
"Stay home as much as possible, and stay safe, remains very much the right message for our community right now.
"It is a clear message that is commonly understood, and puts us in the best possible position to continue to reduce the health risk from this infection.
"It is vital that we all continue to follow it, especially with the forecast of a dry and warm week ahead, and work together to lower the risk of people spreading or catching the virus.
"To protect our community, it's a message that will stay in force until our infection rate starts to come down to the levels that other parts of the country are now witnessing."
Acting on advice from its local public health, the council has also reinforced six key actions that residents are being urged to continue to support:
Work from home if you can
Avoid public transport if possible
Local parks and green spaces are available for your daily outdoor exercise
Always keep your distance in public (at least 2 metres apart)
Wash your hands regularly
And if you or anyone in your household has coronavirus symptoms, you must all self-isolate
To date (May 15), there have been 1,128 confirmed cases and 415 deaths relating to COVID-19 in Bradford District. A total of 371 people have been discharged by doctors and nurses from Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust after being successfully treated for COVID-19, while 190 have so far returned home from Airedale NHS Foundation Trust after recovering from the virus.
Bradford Council has taken a phased approach and it opened 16 of its car parks on Thursday 14 May to allow members of the same household to visit together to exercise or to enjoy the scenery.
Although the guidance on exercise and visiting outdoor spaces now means that people can drive to beauty spots to exercise or enjoy the scenery, Bradford Council is encouraging people to continue to walk to local parks and green-spaces in preference to driving to ones further away.
This is in line with the Government’s campaign messages which still encourages people to stay at home as much as possible, but now says that they can take part in more outdoor activities.
When ever people are outside the home they should continue to maintain social distancing by keeping 2m from those they don’t live with and not gathering in groups of more than two except with members their household. If you or anyone in your household has coronavirus symptoms you must stay at home.
The message from the council is that if a car park is closed or if it is full you must drive on. Do not park in passing places, entrances to fields or property or on verges or places where parking is restricted such as double yellow lines. If parks and green-spaces are busy you must try somewhere else or go at a less busy time. Also people must pick up after their dogs and dispose of litter and PPE responsibly. They should either put it in a bin or take it home with them and dispose of it there.
A Team of Wardens and Youth Workers will be out and about in parks and green-spaces across the district promoting the social distancing guidelines.