RESIDENTS have been urged to get vaccinated against Covid and wear a mask in public places to protect others this winter.

Alistair Hill, director of public health at Brighton and Hove City Council, said that it is important for people in Brighton to boost their protection against Covid amid "high numbers of positive cases in every age group".

He said thousands of vaccine appointments are now available, including sessions at Brighton Racecourse and 800 appointments a day at Churchill Square.

Mr Hill said: "This is great news as it means thousands more people in the city will be better protected this winter.

"If you are due a vaccine, please book an appointment as soon as you can.

"I also want to say a big thank you to everyone who has been involved in running the NHS vaccination programme. It's been a year of constantly changing demands but more than three million vaccines have been delivered across Sussex. This is a huge achievement."

In a statement, the council encouraged people to keep Covid cases down in the city by getting their Covid vaccines, booster jab and flu jab when offered, wearing a face covering in crowded or enclosed spaces including public transport, meeting others outside where possible and taking lateral flow tests regularly.

People are able to order free testing packs online to be delivered or can pick up packs from Jubilee Library, Hove Tow Hall or from selected pharmacies.

The comments come as a new variant of the coronavirus was detected in South Africa, which has been described by the UK's chief medical adviser as "the most worrying we've seen".

Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser at the Health Security Agency, said that it is possible that the variant may have already arrived in the UK.

She said: "We have no cases identified whatsoever yet, nothing in our genome sequencing, so overall, I think the situation is reassuring in-country, but of course, people are arriving every day."

Addressing the Commons earlier today, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said that experience had shown "we must move quickly and at the earliest possible moment", adding there were concerns the variant may more transmissible and make vaccines less effective.

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