Covid-19: Liverpool facing tsunami of virus infections

Covid-19: Liverpool facing tsunami of virus infections

A “tsunami” of Covid-19 cases in and around Liverpool has prompted calls to speed up vaccinations in the area.

The city council’s health lead Paul Brant said the doubling of the infection rate in a week had left the city under “immense” pressure.

Liverpool had seen a marked reduction in cases while pioneering a mass testing programme in November.

Regional mayor Steve Rotheram said the testing infrastructure should now be used to accelerate a vaccine roll-out.

Liverpool has seen the rate of cases rise from 461 per 100,000 people in the seven days to 31 December to 988 per 100,000 in the week to 7 January.

Neighbouring Knowsley, Halton and Sefton have also recorded similarly steep week-on-week rises.

Mr Rotheram has written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock to outline the idea and request that a mass vaccination hub, similar to the seven already located across England, be set up in the city.

The Labour mayor said the “sobering figures” made it clear that the virus was “spreading very rapidly”.

“I’d urge everyone to be extra careful and keep doing everything to keep yourself and loved ones safe to stop our NHS being overwhelmed,” he said.

He said he was “disappointed” the logistics and infrastructure used for mass testing were not now being used to speed up the vaccination effort in the city.

Liverpool City Region was placed in tier two following England’s second lockdown in November, then moved to tier three on 30 December before joining the rest of England under a new national lockdown on 4 January.

Mr Brant said the upward curve of infections was a “tsunami”, which was likely to peak in a week’s time as the effects of Christmas mixing were only just starting to be felt.

The Labour councillor said “Covid tourism” had also had an impact on the rate, as people from neighbouring areas with stricter restrictions had travelled into the city while tier two measures were in place.

He said “plenty of us” had expressed concerns about the combination of factors “at the time” and had “called for a fresh national lockdown long before it happened”.

Mr Hancock previously hailed the success of mass testing in the city and said it had saying brought the rate of infection down “quite remarkably”.

The Department of Health has been approached for comment.

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