There were more rises in confirmed positive covid test results between 19 March and 25 March and West of England Metro Mayor Dan Norris says there is “no room for complacency” in the fight against the virus.

Positive cases reported in last seven days:

• Bristol – 5,285
• Bath and North East Somerset – 2,335
• South Gloucestershire – 3,606

Nationwide Covid cases have climbed by a million in a week in the UK, data from the Office for National Statistics reveals, and Swab tests suggest about one in every 16 people is infected.

The numbers of people being admitted to hospital is also rising again.

The worrying figures come as the Government is ending free lateral flow tests for the vast majority of people at the end of the month as well as the £500 self-isolation support payment to help low-wage workers afford to stay away from work.

Metro Mayor Dan Norris, with responsibility for the regional economy, has said that local businesses have told him they are facing more staff sickness again.

Dan Norris said: “Everybody wants to get back to normal, but we’re not out of the woods with covid-19 yet. So once again it’s really important to be cautious. There’s no need to let covid dominate your life but please do take sensible precautions. Wear a mask on public transport, wash your hands more often and if you’re feeling unwell keep away from others. These are all things we can do locally to stop the spread.

“This rise in numbers does show the Government has misjudged on free covid tests – this is just the time we should be encouraging testing. But with the cost-of-living crisis biting, I can see people are much more likely to choose heating over covid testing. It’s also vital that ministers fix our broken sick pay system once and for all. Workers who are laid low by Covid must be able to make ends meet – not pushed into financial hardship”.

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