Families asked to self-isolate for 10 days if visiting from tier 4 area after Londoners fled capital for Christmas

FAMILIES are being asked to self-isolate for 10 days if they are visiting from a tier 4 area – as Londoners made a mass exodus from the capital.

Public health officials in the West Midlands and Greater Manchester  are urging  anyone visiting from a tier 4 area such as London, Wales or the South East to self-isolate – even though travelling from the highest tier is against government regulations.

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Director of public health for the Lancashire authority of Blackburn with Darwen, Dominic Harrison, said anyone who had travelled from a tier 4 area after last Wednesday should isolate for at least five days.

There were chaotic scenes in London as people packed into railway stations or jumped into cars in an attempt to leave the capital and reach loved ones before the harsh restrictions were introduced.

It prompted fears the more infectious coronavirus variant would be spread around the country.

Council leaders in the West Midlands said anyone coming from the capital or Wales should “assume they have the new variant of Covid” and act accordingly.

The region’s directors of public health said people should continue to self-isolate even if they have had a negative test.

Anyone travelling to Greater Manchester from a tier 4 area has been asked to quarantine in the home they go to for at least 10 days.

Anyone already in that home does not need to self-isolate but visitors are banned.

In both areas, the policy is said to be strong advice and officials have no powers to enforce it, the Daily Mail reports.

Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy, director of public health in Tameside, East Manchester, said: “The new strain of Covid, which is increasingly rapidly in tier 4 areas, is extremely worrying.

“It is incredibly infectious and if you come into contact with someone with this strain, you are far more likely to catch it than the original strain.

“We are so concerned about  the potential grave impact of this that we have taken the difficult decision to ask anyone who has travelled here for  Christmas from any tier 4 area or Wales to act as if they have this new variant, even if they  have  no symptoms, and self-isolate for at least 10days.”

Dr de Gruchy added: ‘We know so many people have been doing their bit for so long, and we know everyone desperately wishes we could see an end to the restrictions, but it’s more important than ever that we all put in that extra effort.”

Public health bosses in the West Midlands said: “We are asking anyone who has travelled to the region from any tier four areas or Wales, to assume they have the new variant of Covid and to self-isolate for at least 10 days.

“Although our region is not in tier 4, rates are increasing and it is highly likely that the new variant is circulating.

“So please reduce your contact to a minimum, act like people you see have the virus.

“Remember that people may have the virus and show no symptoms.”

In the Liverpool City region, where a mass coronavirus testing pilot has been taking place, anyone who has travelled from London or the South-East to the area has been urged to get a test.

Asked about the policies at the Downing Street press conference yesterday, Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said: “The message has been very clear, and I think I want to  reinforce it – it  is ‘stay local’.”

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