Kirklees has the fourth highest infection rate in the country, of 99.4 cases per 100,000 people, and concerns have been raised about a recent spike in cases and the spread of the Indian variant, known as known as B.1.617.2.
Kirklees Council and NHS staff began knocking on doors in Savile Town and Thornhill Lees yesterday, asking everyone over 11 to take a PCR Covid-19 test.
Everyone over the age of 18 in those areas is also being offered an appointment to get vaccinated against the virus.
Mobile testing centres have been set up at Taleem Training and Community Centre in Savile Town, Honley Community Centre in Honley and Wards Hill Car Park in Batley.
It comes after Kirklees’ Outbreak Control Board released a statement, which says everyone should “be cautious” but there are “no restrictions to travel into and out of Kirklees” and pubs and restaurants can remain open for business.
It adds: “Deaths and hospitalisations relating to Covid-19 remain low in Kirklees but with rising infection rates, everyone in Kirklees has a part to play in keeping themselves and their community safe.
“That’s why we’re urging people to get tested, stick to the guidance and – above all – to get vaccinated when you are eligible.
“Maintaining social distancing and meeting outdoors are sensible ways of reducing infections but residents can still travel in and out of the borough in line with national restrictions.”
On Friday evening, the Government updated its website with a message which states people “should try to” avoid making non-essential journeys in or out of the Kirklees, Bedford, Blackburn with Darwen, Bolton, Burnley, Leicester, Hounslow and North Tyneside local authority areas.
It also stated people should meet outside rather than inside “where possible” and remain at least two metres away from anyone they do not live with.
The Government provided each area with surge testing and additional vaccine doses earlier this month due to concerns about rising infection rates and the spread of the Indian variant. But council leaders and MPs said they were not consulted about the advice.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said yesterday that the guidance is “not statutory” and the Government wants to “move away from top-down edicts” so people can “exercise their good judgement”.
And in a joint statement yesterday the directors of public health in the affected areas effectively said the advice could be disregarded, saying it had been confirmed “there are no local lockdowns”.