‘Covid hasn’t gone away’ - Fresh warning as cases rise in Bristol due to new variants

Two more deaths recorded this week

Coronavirus hasn’t gone way and cases are creeping up in Bristol due to two new variants of the disease, a health chief has warned.

Dominic Mellon, deputy director of UK Health Security Agency for the South West, said there had been an increase of cases in the city and across the region after a shift in the dominant strain from Omicron BA.2.

The latest data indicates that the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants now account for more than half of rising COVID-19 cases in the UK, driving the increase in infections.

In the week leading up to June 22, it is estimated that in 1 in 48 people had the virus in Bristol, in line with the national average - but across the South West, it was 1 in 45.

A weekly report from the region’s director of Public Health Christina Gray shows that in the week leading to June 22, the number of people in hospital with Covid increased from 43 to 55, although the number of people in intensive care with the disease was ‘less than five’.

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A total of 743 people had died with the virus in the city when the UK coronavirus daily dashboard was updated on Tuesday (June 28) – up from 741 on Monday.

A member of the public wears a pandemic face mask ahead (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

“It’s been a number of months since the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and we are all enjoying some normality after a challenging two years which impacted all corners of life,” added Mr Mellon.

“As we now look forward to life without restrictions and head into the social summer holiday period, we must keep in mind that the virus has not gone away.”

He urged residents to remain vigilant, take precautions and keep up to date with their vaccinations.

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He went on: “Remember we can all play our part - stay at home if you have any respiratory symptoms or a fever and limit contact with others until you are feeling better, particularly if they are likely to be at greater risk if they contract COVID-19.

“Face coverings and hand washing still remain important in reducing transmission, consider wearing a face covering in crowded, enclosed spaces and washing your hands thoroughly and often, especially before and after getting on public transport or getting in from work, shops or the pub.

“We also know a large number of people will be coming to visit our region again this summer, enjoying the local festivals and supporting local businesses that have been affected by the pandemic.

“Let’s enjoy the summer and our regained freedoms but keep in mind that COVID-19 hasn’t gone on holiday and we all need to do our bit to live safely.”

For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

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