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.