A LEADING Bradford health expert has issued an important message ahead of the easing of lockdown measures this weekend.

Professor John Wright, an epidemiologist and director of the Bradford Institute for Health Research has played a major role in pushing out public health messages through the Covid-19 crisis. 

And as Bradford is now second behind Leicester for new cases, there are fears the city could be plunged into lockdown again.

The latest data shows Bradford has 45.8 cases per 100,000 population, the second highest in England behind Leicester with 141.3.

Professor John Wright said: "Earlier this week, Leicester went back into lockdown and my big fear is that Bradford will be next.

"Cities like Leicester, Bradford and London right at the start of the epidemic, these were the places we were most concerned about - high population densities, people living very close to each other and so it's a perfect environment for the virus to spread.

"But also large South Asian populations and these are the people at particular risk from this virus.

"So this weekend it seems as though everything is going back to normal, more easing of restrictions of lockdown - pubs, restaurants, hairdressers.

"But the virus is still circulating and it's circulating more in Bradford than other places, so it's a time to be particularly alert.

"At the start of the epidemic, what gave me great reassurance was the wisdom of the people of this city of Bradford.

"They knew long before the Government announced lockdown what was happening.

"They knew what was coming and they took steps to protect themselves and their families.

"So we need that widsom back again, today. This weekend, be vigilant, be careful.

"Keep practicing social distancing, don't get too close to people.

"Avoid gatherings of people, wear a face mask when you're out in public, keep washing your hands and look after each other.

"Every life is precious and we don't want to lose anybody else."