MORE Covid support for surge testing, tracing, isolation and maximising vaccine uptake will be deployed in Cheshire East to tackle a rise in cases of the Delta variant.

The borough, along with Birmingham, Blackpool, Cheshire West and Chester, Liverpool City Region and Warrington, will become an 'Enhanced Response Area', the Government has confirmed.

The support package, which is the same as was announced for Greater Manchester and Lancashire last week, is being provided after a number of cases of the Delta variant were detected in the areas, a spokesman said.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We are doing everything we can to stop the spread of the Delta variant, and working with local authorities, we are providing a strengthened package of support in areas where cases of the variant are increasing.

“We know this approach has made a real impact in south London and in Bolton where we have seen it stall rising cases.

“I urge people living these areas to get tested, come forward for your vaccine as soon as you are eligible and make sure to get the all-important second jab – that is how we will beat this virus.”

The help on offer for those designated as an enhanced response area includes military support with testing and supervised in-school testing, and greater communication with disadvantaged groups.

Local directors of public health will also be able to reintroduce face coverings in communal areas in schools if they want to.

As part of the government guidance, residents are encouraged to get tested twice a week, minimise travel in and out of the affected areas, avoid meeting indoors. and continue to work from home if possible.

Introduction of this additional support will be led by local authorities to ensure the right steps are taken at the right time.

Support available to local areas will include:

  • Additional resources to help local authorities with testing, logistics, planning and workforce to assist with testing, door-to-door visits to engage with residents and other activities. These may come from the Surge Rapid Response Teams, from military aid or other sources depending on requirements.
  • Wastewater testing samples being prioritised for sequencing.
  • Specialist communications support to increase awareness and focus engagement with disadvantaged groups.
  • Maximising vaccine uptake by expanding existing channels, developing new capacity and increasing local and targeted communications to reach different communities.
  • Supervised in-school testing and discretion to reintroduce face coverings in indoor communal areas and classrooms in schools if they and directors of public health decide it is appropriate.
  • Surge testing and enhanced contact tracing.
  • Enhanced monitoring (genomic sequencing, genotype assay testing).