“Any change in the virus is a serious issue for us all and we are of course concerned to hear of the mutation that has been identified in the region.
“Our Directors of Public Health are working closely with Public Health England to understand and respond appropriately.
“While we continue to be vigilant and respond in line with scientific advice, we are continuing to make real progress in the fight against Covid – rates are falling across the city region, while the number of people being vaccinated is rising every day.
“Every person who gets vaccinated moves us one step closer to a return to some kind of normality and we owe our NHS and key workers who do incredible work battling this virus on a daily basis, a huge debt of gratitude.
“The most important thing we can all do right now to support them and keep our family and friends safe, is to continue to stick closely to the rules.
“If it is essential that you must go out, it is vital to make space between you and others, wear a face covering and wash your hands regularly. If you are a key worker or carer – or if requested to do so locally – get a Covid test.
“Please stay home if at all possible, protect the NHS and save lives.”