AN MP has called for tighter Covid-19 restrictions in York following “damage” caused by people visiting the city before Christmas.

York MP Rachael Maskell said the city was in the “worst of all positions” and said there were too many opportunities for person-to-person contact.

In the seven days to January 7, cases in York had risen by more than 37 per cent and are now above the UK average.

A total of 1,343 cases were reported in those seven days, a rolling rate of 637.6 per 100,000 people.

She said: “The infection rates in York are demanding tighter restrictions are in place, as the NHS is becoming overwhelmed. I, as the MP for York Central, have appraised the infection rates in York, together with the restrictions that are in place, and make the case that there are too many opportunities for person to person contact causing Covid19 to rip through the city.

“Now with infection rates double that of the region, York must bear down on Covid19, by minimalising social contact.

“This approach has worked in places like New Zealand, where a rapid response to Covid, freed the country from infection. The same is needed here so we can return to normal activity as soon as possible.”

She said cases were rising once again among people over the age of 60 and added there was a higher prevalence among children than the city had previously seen.

She added: “The new variant of Covid19 spreads far more easily and therefore we cannot let it transmit further into our community through social mixing.

“We are now seeing the damage caused by the pre-Christmas movement of people from Tier 3 coming to York, something I tried to get Government to enforce restrictions on, and of social mixing over Christmas.

“SAGE advised the Prime Minister of the risk of this, and now we are seeing the consequences. This has left York in the worst of all positions.

“If people are infected, then they must rigorously stay at home. There can be no exceptions. I am calling for the isolation payments to be extended. I know that family finances are really tough, it is cold and heating bills need to be paid, and people need to eat. If you are struggling, we will find support, but please stay at home.

“Every time, you feel frustrated by Covid19 restrictions, please think of our exhausted, broken NHS staff, having to wear full PPE all day long, unable to cope the sheer volume of infections coming through their doors, not to mention all the other medical problems they are dealing with.

“They need you to stay put for now as the NHS is at capacity and difficult clinical decisions will need to be made if more demand is placed on it.

“As a politician, the very last thing I would want is to see harm caused to our economy, people isolated and freedoms taken, it goes against everything I believe in, but we have no choice.

“As your MP, I am asking employers to allow their staff to work at home, unless providing absolutely essential services to residents. I am asking parents, unless they have no other form of childcare to keep their children at home, and I am asking venues that are open to assess whether they really need to be.

“Furthermore, I am asking people to end their social mixing, unless it is with someone in their household or social bubble, and to stay home. At all times, Hands-Face-Space (at least 2m) must be adhered to.”