A NEW group has been set up to steer Leeds through the next phase of tackling Covid-19.

Key figures from business, transport, health and education are joining council leaders to help the city’s recovery.

The Leeds Outbreak Control Board aims to support people in the city to play their part in testing, tracing and controlling the spread of the virus as part of the NHS Test and Trace programme.

In the coming months, members of the board will spearhead a city-wide effort to ensure people know when they need to get a test, when they might need to isolate to protect others and how they can help trace people they’ve been in contact with.

Initially meeting every three weeks the board will also work alongside partners from local communities, unions, retail, culture and sport, manufacturing and the third sector to make the city as safe as possible and ensure it is poised to swiftly respond to any local outbreaks.

Leeds City Council Leader Judith Blake, who is chairwoman of the new board said: “Over the past few months and despite facing exceptional and all-encompassing changes to our way of life, Leeds has come together like never before to meet the challenge of Covid-19 with characteristic tenacity and community spirit.

“As we enter the next phase of managing this crisis, the people of Leeds will be at the very heart of keeping their city safe and we’ll need to call on their sense of collective responsibility and compassion to make sure we protect one another and stay on top of the virus.”

The council and the board will use the latest data to respond quickly to any increases in the number of cases so they can be contained as effectively and efficiently as possible while also preparing and planning for any restrictions which may be needed.

Victoria Eaton, Leeds City Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “Leeds has already shown a real aptitude for the type of strong, agile partnership work that will enable us to robustly test and trace cases and contain any local outbreaks effectively.

“We’re absolutely committed to working at a local level to prevent those outbreaks, and to acting early where they arise to keep infections as low as possible across Leeds. We’re already in a strong place in preventing and managing outbreaks across the city, and this remains a critical priority as we come through lockdown measures.”

More information on the NHS Test and Trace programme, can be found at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/nhs-test-and-trace-if-youve-been-in-contact-with-a-person-who-has-coronavirus/.