THE north west has been urged ‘not to get complacent’ when the second national lockdown ends next week.

Public Health England’s regional director Dr Andrew Furber has issued the warning ahead of the reintroduction of the tiered coronavirus measures next week.

While Covid-19 infection rates are falling across the north west, they ‘remain high in most areas’ – as does demand on the NHS.

Dr Furber said: “As a public health community, we are encouraged by the data which shows everyone’s hard work is paying off and we’re now seeing rates starting to come down.

“We thank everyone for playing their part – it’s not been easy.

“But we cannot get complacent.

“The last thing any of us want to see is an increase in cases leading to further deaths and, as we move into winter, additional pressure on local health services.

“The promise of effective vaccines on the horizon is encouraging, but everyone in at-risk groups is unlikely to be vaccinated before spring.

“So, in the meantime, please remain vigilant and don’t forget the basics – hands, face, space.”

Dr Furber also warned that this Christmas will be ‘far from normal’.

He added: “We would all like to be able to see loved ones during the festive period, but we know that Christmas will be different this year.

“What is important is that we reduce our contact with others as much as possible, keep washing our hands, wear face coverings when necessary and keep our distance to reduce the spread of the virus.

“We know this is hard, but please keep doing everything you can to reduce the risk to yourself and those around you.”