Sandwell’s director for public health Dr Lisa McNally today issued this stark warning: “A new variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has now spread to most areas of the country.
“It is expected to be prevalent in our area very soon.
“The problem is the speed of transmission – we can expect a dramatic rise in cases over the next few weeks which inevitably means more pressure on already strained hospital critical care units and an increase in deaths.
“Our data suggests that shops, and especially supermarkets, are likely places for infection.”
Councillor Maria Crompton, deputy leader, Sandwell Council added: “We want everyone to stay safe this Christmas so please do not take any unnecessary risks.
“COVID-19 can be a fatal illness and it is vital we all do what we can to stop the spread and in particular protect our most vulnerable residents.”
Anyone with symptoms must get tested straight away and ensure they self-isolate for the full 10 days.