PEOPLE living in Herefordshire have been told by the county's public health chief they must "step up to the plate" to protect the NHS and save lives.

As England's third national lockdown became law on Wednesday, making people stay at home except for limited reasons, Herefordshire Council said it comes in the wake of a "sharp increase" in coronavirus cases across the country, including Herefordshire, in recent weeks.

In the seven days to January 6, 660 new Covid-19 cases have been reported in Herefordshire.


Herefordshire's acting director of public health Rebecca Howell-Jones said: “Throughout this pandemic, the vast majority of Herefordshire residents and businesses have shown extraordinary levels of compliance to the Covid-19 rules in order to protect themselves, their loved ones and wider communities against this highly contagious and sometimes lethal virus.

“But, with the new variant spreading rapidly in our communities, the pressure on our health and care services is now greater than at any other time in this pandemic.

“We ask that Herefordshire residents step up to the plate once again and stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. We know this an extremely difficult time for many people but there is help for our most vulnerable members of society.”

People who are clinically extremely vulnerable will receive a letter from the Government with information about shielding.

The council will continue to help those who are vulnerable with its Talk Community initiative, which can be reached by calling 01432 260027 or emailing

Dr Howell-Jones added: “I want to remind everyone to continue following the guidance on washing their hands regularly and thoroughly, always using a face covering in shops and other indoor public settings, and social distancing.

"This plays a vital part in reducing the spread of Covid-19.”