KEY figures in Bradford's response to coronavirus have spoken of the "balance" needed between opening up the economy and easing lockdown restrictions while making sure particularly vulnerable people are safe.

Speaking during an online meeting, Professor John Wright, an epidemiologist and director of the Bradford Institute for Health Research, and Bradford Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe, discussed the issues facing those who have been shielding during the Covid-19 crisis.

The meeting was held on Sunday, prior to Tuesday's major announcement where Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave the green light for many parts of the economy to re-open.

Prof Wright said: "I think it's important to remember that while the outside world seems to be returning to some normality, we still have quite a high rate of infection going on in the country.

"It is still active and we have to be mindful about this, how quickly we ease and how we adapt that to local contexts.

"Vulnerable groups are the ones we're most worried about. I'm increasingly bullish about children and young people - I think we should be trying to get people to return to normal lives - but I think it's the older groups I worry about the most. That vulnerability, it crosses all age groups so we're seeing from our questionnaire surveys, vulnerable families with great concerns about this.

"Something like one in four of our families had someone shielded in the house, so this is complex and we're seeing evidence about vulnerable children and we need to get better at trying to support those and try and help them, but also vulnerable older people, vulnerable people with comorbidities."

He added: "It's across the spectrum and I think we have to be cautious. This is all about risk benefit equations and how we adapt to what's going on with Covid-19 in the community to make decisions about easing of our restrictions."

Councillor Hinchcliffe added: "We're opening up the economy and people are now starting to venture out, but I'm still very concerned about vulnerable groups and people who are really susceptible to getting coronavirus.

"I'd love to wrap everyone in cotton wool and keep them safe, but also recognise that if we don't ease the lockdown, then actually poverty is also going to kill people.

"It's getting a real balance right, really.

"We've done such a lot of work over the last three months to keep people safe and I just encourage people, please keep social distancing, wash your hands, all those public health messages we had at the beginning are really important to keep going, so please stick with those."