BRADFORD needs to take advantage of the current lockdown and get the District’s high infection rate down, Bradford Council’s Leader has said.

During a meeting of the Council’s Executive yesterday, members heard that despite being under stricter lockdown measures than most of the country since Summer - the infection rate was still stubbornly high.

The infection rate is currently 585 per 100,000 of the population, and around 19 per cent of the people who were getting tested were found to be positive.

There have been 33 deaths in the district related to Covid in the past week, up from the previous week, and the Council was currently managing 85 outbreaks in the District.

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And the Council’s Chief Executive Kersten England said the authority expected it would be managing the virus “until at least April.

The meeting was held yesterday morning, just hours before it was announced that a possible vaccine to the virus may soon be available.

Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe said: “At the moment we are living at a point of National emergency.

“Our hospitals are struggling because of the increase in numbers of people coming in. There are some very poorly people in our hospitals.

“The positivity rate of people getting tests is 19 per cent, almost one in five people who are being tested have the virus.

“We need to take advantage of this current 28 day lockdown to get the infection rate down. We have to do it together, it is all of our responsibility to do that.

“Lots of people have died from this - it is real, and it is out there and highly infectious.

“Our condolences to the friends and families of people who have died.”

Mrs England said: “Very sadly we have had 33 deaths in the last week. More and more people are being touched by this disease, it is effecting their family and friends and we are holding them all in our thoughts.

“The infection rate is extremely high, but most health experts believe it would be much higher if it wasn’t for all the work being done to contain the virus. What we’re doing is making a difference.

“It is very likely this virus will be with us until April. We’re mobilising services to distribute a vaccine, but there is no date yet it will be available. We assume we will be managing the virus in some form until at least April next year.”

She said the pressure of tackling the virus came on top of typical seasonal pressures, such as winter flu outbreaks and winter weather issues.

The meeting heard that a recent study by Kings College London found that just 18 per cent of people who had been advised, through Track and Trace, to self isolate had done so.

Earlier in the meeting members were discussing the Council’s spending on dealing with the pandemic, including spending £5 million on PPE this financial year and extra support for care homes.

Cllr Hinchcliffe pointed out how important it was that the Authority prevents it’s vulnerable residents from becoming victims of the virus, saying: “The mark of a society is how it looks after its elderly and vulnerable residents.”