BRIGHTON and Hove has been declared an "enhanced response area" following an alarming rise in Covid-19 cases.

The city is to receive extra support to tackle the spread of coronavirus, the government announced yesterday.

The Department of Health and Social Care said the aim of this additional support is to slow down the rate of infections in the area, allowing time for more people to get both vaccinations.

The additional support package includes the option to deliver extra testing within targeted areas, the provision of logistical support to maximise vaccine uptake, and further help for local campaigns.

This approach has also been used in areas across the North West, and Bedford and Birmingham.

Health Minister Lord Bethell said: “Working closely with the local authority, we are providing a strengthened package of support in Brighton and Hove.

“We know this approach can work and it is based on our successful partnerships with other areas where there was a significant rise in cases.

“This extra support is intended to help slow the rate of infection as we begin to lift restrictions, allowing more people to get double jabbed.

“The most important thing that people in this area can do is take a test if they are offered to do so, practise hands, face, space and fresh air, and get their jab – the vaccine is building a wall of protection around us all.”

This is what it means for people living and working in Brighton and Hove:

1. All 18–29-year-olds should get tested

Brighton and Hove City Council say cases are really high in this age group, and tests are needed try and stop the spread while we wait for the impact of the vaccine to catch up.

New walk-in polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test centres have opened at the Peace Statue on Hove Seafront and in Jubilee Square, Brighton next to the library.

People are being urged to take the free rapid Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests twice weekly if they are not displaying symptoms.

This is so that cases can be found quickly and people who have tested positive can self-isolate.

2. Business will remain open

The council says the city remains open for business, but people should continue to follow the rules and advice.

People are urged to continue wearing a face covering and to stay two metres apart from anyone not in the same household or support bubble.

Where this is not possible, people should stay one metre apart with extra precautions like wearing a face covering. 

Regular hand washing for least 20 seconds is still advised and public indoor areas should be kept well ventilated.

3. You can still meet other people outside your household

Hugging friends and family is still allowed, but people should “take care” and meet outdoors rather than indoors where possible.

If you do meet indoors, keep the windows open and wipe surfaces clean regularly, up to six people or two households can mix indoors and up to six people or two households can stay overnight in somebody's home. 

4. Will lockdown rules in Brighton and Hove change on July 19?

The Prime Minister has confirmed that England will move to the final stage of easing Covid restrictions on Monday.

Masks will become voluntary, all businesses that remain closed - including nightclubs - will be able to reopen, with no caps on capacity and the requirement for people to work from home if possible, will be dropped.

The lifting of restrictions on July 19 will go ahead in Brighton and Hove, but Councillor Phelim Mac Cafferty, Leader of Brighton & Hove City Council says residents and visitors should continue to be “cautious”.

He said: “Most legal restrictions are likely to end in a week, however, Covid is sadly far from over and we must all keep taking responsibility to protect ourselves, families, friends and communities.

“I urge everyone to keep up washing hands, wearing a face mask indoors and in crowded spaces, maintaining a safe distance, keeping rooms well ventilated and meeting outdoors as much as possible, this week and after July 19. Help keep our city open and safe.”