GET vaccinated, get your booster and look after each other through this difficult winter period.

This is the joint message from the nine directors of public health across Cheshire and Merseyside, including Halton director Dr Ifeoma Onyia.

They are urging residents to go and receive a Covid booster vaccine as soon as possible, to protect yourselves and everyone around you.

This in turn will help to keep our fantastic frontline health and care services running this winter.

The statement reads: “As directors of public health, we are supportive of measures to help mitigate the spread of Covid-19, and in particular the new Omicron variant.

“We knew that there was always a risk of new variants, and it is clear that Omicron is spreading very rapidly.

“The UK is now at Covid-19 alert level four, because we have extremely high transmission and rising rates of Omicron.

Runcorn and Widnes World: Regular lateral flow testing is advised (Image: PA)Regular lateral flow testing is advised (Image: PA)

“We especially want to keep those who are most vulnerable in our local communities safe and prevent more people going into hospital and dying.

“Everyone is being asked to get vaccinated and get their booster dose as soon as possible.”

Directors say demand for vaccination will be high and vaccination sites will be very busy, so please book ahead wherever possible and be patient if you are queuing for your vaccine.

If you do experience symptoms of Covid-19 – a fever, new continuous cough or loss or change of taste or smell – PCR tests can be booked by visiting or calling 119.

If your test is positive, you must follow the guidance including self-isolating immediately.

It is also recommended you take lateral flow tests twice a week and also in advance of any social gathering or event.

If you are notified that you are a close contact of a positive case of Covid-19 and you are fully vaccinated, you will be asked to do daily lateral flow testing for seven days to check you are and remain negative.

Children under five years old do not need a test and will not need to self-isolate. If you have not had two doses of the vaccine, you will need to isolate for the full 10 days.

Runcorn and Widnes World: Hand washing remains an essential tool against coronavirusHand washing remains an essential tool against coronavirus

Face coverings are required in most indoor public settings, except for pubs and restaurants or unless you are exempt.

Office workers who can work from home should do so, and you are required to show proof of full vaccination status, or a negative test in the last 48 hours, to enter certain venues such as nightclubs or major sporting events.

Directors add: “This is a time where we as a community need to come together and support each other.

“We need to continue to be kind to ourselves and others and carry on with the same steely determination to do the right thing that has kept us going since the beginning.

“Masks, hand washing, social distancing and ventilation are all vital measures to mitigate this disease, but none more so than being vaccinated against it.

“That is the number one tool we have, and if up until now you have not taken up your offer of the vaccine, please book your jab now.

“The same applies to your booster. They are safe, effective and millions upon millions of people across the country have benefited from it.”

To book a booster, visit