Protect against Covid variant

Health officials have urged people to protect themselves and their loved ones from Covid-19 in the run up to the festive season.

With ongoing uncertainty around the potential impact of the new Omicron variant, Leeds City Council is urging people to follow the latest guidance and get a jab or a booster.

As cases of the new variant appear more commonly across the UK, experts say it is expected Leeds will have cases over the coming weeks.

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Victoria Eaton, Leeds City Council’s director of Public Health added: “We urge everyone to continue to follow the latest advice.

“This means washing your hands regularly, wearing a face covering when required, and isolating and getting a PCR test if you have symptoms.

“We also encourage opening windows for fresh air and taking a lateral flow test before socialising indoors, particularly if you are seeing someone who is at a greater risk. We can all play our part in keeping the city safe over the festive season and beyond.”

If someone is suspected or confirmed to have the Omicron variant as the result of testing, their close contacts will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace, required to self-isolate and asked to take a PCR test, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated.

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As of December 6, the overall Covid-19 infection rate in Leeds is stable at 322.4 cases per 100k and remains below the regional and national infection rates while the situation in local hospitals is improved.

Coun Salma Arif, Leeds City Council’s executive member for public health and active lifestyles, said: “While we can continue to enjoy our festive activities and Christmas plans, we do need to be mindful of our individual and collective responsibilities to protect our friends, families and communities.

“What remains absolutely crucial is that as many people as possible are fully vaccinated as this represents our best defence against both existing strains and any new variants. It is not too late for people who have not yet had their first dose to still access this locally.

“It is also vital people access the booster vaccine when invited to do so, which not only boosts immunity but provides a higher level of protection than doses one and two.”

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Everyone aged 18 and over, three months after the second dose, are eligible for their booster vaccination.

The current advice is to wait to be contacted by the NHS for your booster appointment - but it is worth checking the website for updates to the national booking system.

The Leeds NHS webpage also has a page of information about the Covid-19 vaccines, booster programme as well as local walk-in clinics.

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