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Residents are being urged to cut their social contacts in a bid to reduce Covid-19 infections, and non-residents are requested to stay away from the Malvern Hills district to protect the NHS and help save lives. If you travel out of your immediate area, you not only face the risk of spreading the virus, but also a £200 fine.

The Prime Minister announced a new national lockdown for England on Monday (4 January). It means people must now stay at home and can only leave for certain reasons including to get food and essentials and for exercise once a day. All non-essential retail, gyms and leisure centres must also close but click and collect and takeaway services are still available.

The move was in response to rising Covid-19 infection rates across the country, which is leading to increased hospital admissions, deaths and risks the NHS becoming overwhelmed. Malvern Hills District is no different and has seen infection rates soar from 65 per 100,000 at the start of December 2020 to 183 per 100,000 as of 3 January 2021.

Cllr Sarah Rouse, Leader of Malvern Hills District Council, has now called for residents to follow the new restrictions to help pull the district through until spring when it is hoped the national vaccination programme will allow a return to some normality.

Cllr Rouse said: “We all hoped we wouldn’t be in this position again but the situation is serious and if we don’t all take action now to follow the rules and reduce our social contacts there is a real risk our NHS will be overwhelmed and this sadly will lead to unnecessary deaths.

“The vaccine rollout has started in this area and we will see it ramped up over the coming weeks. This offers real hope for the future.

“We’ll continue to do all we can to support our communities and businesses through this challenging time.

“I know it is tough being separated from loved ones and devastating for businesses forced to close, but we can get through this if we pull together, by sadly, staying apart for just a little while longer.”

More information on the support available to residents and businesses during this latest national lockdown and the impact on services is available at www.malvernhills.gov.uk/coronavirus

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