The sharp rise in the number of recorded rates of Covid in Middlesbrough is of course concerning. At the weekly Covid briefing this morning with public health and council officers we discussed the current situation and what is being done to try to reduce the virus rates. Fortunately, hospital admissions for those with Covid has remained stable and I hope that continues to be the case.

The vaccination programme has obviously been a huge undertaking and our NHS staff deserve our utmost thanks. However, there are still many people who are eligible for the vaccination who have not taken up the opportunity. Covid champions will be out and about across Middlesbrough communities encouraging people to get vaccinated, offering support and advice to everyone. We all need to play our part if we are to see a way through this – I would urge everyone who can get vaccinated to do so and for all of us to continue to keep ourselves and others as safe as possible.

Despite the political noises about “Freedom Day” and “Terminus Day” it’s clear that we will be living with Covid for a long time to come and the virus isn’t going to be magically switched off on 19th July and that’s why we’ve got to press for even greater take up of the vaccine in all our communities and maintain our guard and not throw caution to the wind.

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