Coronavirus: people returning to Staffordshire from South east urged to get tested due to new strain of virus

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The emergence of the new strain of Coronavirus has led to a sharp increase in the number of cases, especially in London and the South East of England.

The new strain appears to spread more quickly than the current strain, but does not appear to cause any worse or less serious illness.

People who have returned to Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent from these areas are being urged to get tested for the virus. Residents are also reminded against unnecessary travel.

The Staffordshire Resilience Forum (SRF) consists of the blue-light emergency services, all local NHS organisations, 10 local authorities and local representatives from a number of national agencies.

SRF spokesperson, Dr Richard Harling, the Director for Health and Care at Staffordshire County Council chairs the Strategic Coordinating Group which oversees the multi-agency response said.

“There is still a lot we do not know about this new strain, such as whether already having had COVID gives you immunity from it.

“But we do know that it seems to spread very quickly.

“So it is more important than ever that people follow the rules and avoid any unnecessary contacts.

“We are also advising anyone who has returned to Staffordshire or Stoke-on-Trent from London or the South East to arrange a COVID test even if they feel well and have no symptoms either by calling 119 or booking a test online

“It is inevitable cases of the new strain will arrive in our area, but we can all do our bit to slow it down and protect the vulnerable and our services – remember hands, face, space.”

Dr Harling added: “Please take your Coronavirus advise from official sources rather than social media.”