Indian Covid variant: People in Wakefield urged to avoid travelling to Kirklees amid concerns about rising cases of coronavirus variant

People in Wakefield have been urged not to travel to Kirklees, among rising concerns about the Indian variant of Covid-19.

Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 9:37 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 9:44 am

Government advice urging people in eight areas of England not to travel in or out of their local authority areas appears to have been issued on Friday.

The new advice applies to Bedford council, Blackburn with Darwen council, Bolton Metropolitan council, Burnley council, Kirklees council, Leicester council, Hounslow council and North Tyneside council.

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People in Wakefield have been urged not to travel to Kirklees, among rising concerns about the Indian variant of Covid-19. Photo: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

It means that people in Wakefield and West Yorkshire should avoid travelling in or out of Kirklees unless for essential reasons.

People are also urged to "take particular caution" when meeting people who are not in their support bubble, and should "meet outside rather than inside where possible".

The government urges people to avoid travelling in and out of the affected areas unless for essential work or education.

Those living or working in Kirklees are also urged to get tested twice a week, and work from home where possible.

But the decision seems to have been issued without any widespread announcement, prompting criticism from MPs.

On Monday night, none of the eight authorities appeared on their own websites to be advising residents to avoid travelling into or out of their council areas.

Yasmin Qureshi, Labour MP for Bolton South East and shadow international development minister, said: “I was not informed of this and I understand nor was anyone else in Bolton.

“I’m just gobsmacked. They’re making such an important announcement and they don’t even have the decency to tell us or tell our constituents.

Newly elected West Yorkshire mayor Tracy Brabin added the change could cause “anxiety and confusion”.

Ms Brabin said she would raise the matter urgently with vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi on Tuesday.

She tweeted: “If Govt are concerned we need clear guidance and support not advice that could cause anxiety and confusion.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Health and Social Care said: "Working with local authorities, we took swift and decisive action to slow the spread of the B.1.617.2 variant by introducing surge testing and bringing forward second doses of the vaccine for the most vulnerable.

"We provided additional guidance for those living in affected areas when we became aware of the risk posed by the variant, to encourage people to take an extra cautious approach when meeting others or travelling."