HEALTH chiefs in Dudley trying to help curb the spread of coronavirus have urged people to “act like they’ve got it” and stay at home to help save lives.

The new national lockdown, announced on Monday by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, means people should only leave their home if necessary and schools have once again shut down apart from hosting classes for the children of key workers.

Authorities and health bosses are relying on the lockdown to reduce the rapid spread of Covid-19 cases across the country.

In Dudley borough, however, cases remain high. In the week up to Saturday January 2 there were 600 cases per 100,000 - a significant increase on previous weeks.

Latest figures, from Public Health England, say the infection rate stands at 514 cases per 100,000 people (with 1,653 cases confirmed in the last seven days through testing).

Councillor Nicolas Barlow, Dudley's cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: "I know the Prime Minister’s announcement may have come as a blow to many of us, but it is essential we follow the national guidelines, and all take a personal responsibility to help prevent this disease spreading further.

"We have to bring the transmission rates down, to help protect the NHS from becoming overwhelmed and importantly save lives.

"We have to dig deep, we’ve done this before and I know we can do it again for the greater good.

"I would urge people to think very carefully about their behaviour in the weeks ahead. If people act like they’ve got it and stay at home, combined with the roll out of the vaccine, then we stand a fighting chance and can look forward to brighter times ahead."

Karen Wright, director of public health at Dudley Council, said: "Unfortunately, the case rates in Dudley borough, like across the country are going in the wrong direction.

"We know it’s difficult and a worrying time for many but staying at home now is truly the biggest way people can play their part and help limit the spread of the virus.

"Testing will also remain crucial as will the continued roll out of the vaccine and we will be supporting our colleagues in the NHS as this moves forward.

"We have to remember that one in three of us with the virus won’t have symptoms so it’s really important people follow the guidelines and stay at home."

Full details on what people can and can’t do in this third national lockdown can be seen online at