See in the new year at home – that’s the plea from one of Brighton and Hove’s leading public health experts Kate Cuming.
Dr Cuming said that new year parties could turn out to be coronavirus “super-spreaders” events.
Her warning came as online flyers were circulating for a new year event at Black Rock, in Brighton.
Dr Cuming, a public health consultant at Brighton and Hove City Council, said: “The number of people with covid and becoming seriously unwell in Brighton and Hove and across Sussex is rising fast. Our NHS services are under extreme pressure.
“In the seven days to (Thursday) 24 December there were 915 confirmed new covid-19 cases in Brighton and Hove. This is a 50 per cent increase from the previous week.
“Parties and gatherings at this time could be covid ‘super-spreader’ events, leading people to become very seriously ill which could result in the loss of more lives.
“I urge everyone to stay at home this year and help prevent the spread of the virus.
“The new strain of the coronavirus seems to be incredibly contagious and it’s still the case that one in three people who has it doesn’t have any symptoms so will be spreading it without knowing.
“Anyone thinking about hosting a new year’s party or organising a gathering – even outside – is behaving irresponsibly while we have this new more infectious strain of coronavirus circulating.
“By organising and attending any event where there are people outside of your household or your support bubble, you’re putting your own life and the lives of the people around you at risk.
“We need to continue with our huge collective effort against the virus and reduce our contact with others.
“This will save lives and ease the pressures on our health service at this most challenging time.
“See in 2021 safely and smaller this year. Celebrate New Year’s Eve and the new year at home.”
Dr Cuming urged anyone with the first sign of any covid symptoms to book a test online or by phoning 119.
She added: “If you experience any covid-related symptoms – even if very mild – you must immediately self-isolate with your household and book a test.
“There are three local testing sites in the city – in Portslade, East Brighton and a new site at Preston Park.”
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