THE new mutant strain of Covid-19 could already be in Worcestershire, according to Public Health director Dr Kathryn Cobain.
It originated in the South East of England and has likely spread north but there is currently no evidence that it is more dangerous.
Nor that the vaccine, which has been designed to work across many strains, can’t fight it.
However, this variant spreads far more quickly.
Dr Cobain said: “If you have travelled to the county from a Tier 4 area since Saturday, assume you are carrying the virus and self-isolate for 10 days.
“Stay local and reduce the number of people you see and mix with.”
People in Worcestershire, in Tier 2, are only allowed to form a Christmas bubble of up to three households on Christmas Day.
“Only meet up if you are able to keep the visit short,” added Dr Cobain.
“The reason for these changes, is a new variant of Covid-19, which is spreading much more quickly, and resulting in a rapidly rising R rate.
“This also means there will be much more pressure on our NHS services.
“There is though hope for 2021, as the vaccine has already begun to be given nationally and Worcestershire has begun its vaccination programme in the past few days.