NEW lockdown restrictions come into force today, with the next four weeks seeing us all urged to stay at home as we did back in March.

Worcestershire leaders have called on residents to respect the rules and save lives.

Dr. Kathryn Cobain, director for Public Health in Worcestershire said: “All of us can help to prevent further spread of the virus by following the rules.

“Cut down the number of contacts that you have with people, keep your distance from others and remember to wash your hands and wear face coverings.

“If you follow the rules you will help to keep yourself safe and you will help to protect your loved ones. All our actions have an impact on others and we all need to act together now.”

Under the new restrictions, we must all remain indoors unless it is for work which cannot be done at home, school, exercise and recreation outdoors, medical appointments, to shop for food or essentials and to care for others.

Councillor Simon Geraghty, leader of Worcestershire County Council, added: “Like everyone else I had very much hoped that we could contain the virus and avoid further restrictions but as we now head into a new national lockdown, I am confident that Worcestershire will respond as it has done throughout this pandemic.

“In order to protect ourselves and our loved ones we all must take personal responsibility. We will only reduce the risk of catching the virus and spreading it, if everyone keeps to the rules.

“I know these are tough times but by our collective efforts we can reduce the spread of infection, protect the NHS and save lives.”

Elsewhere in the county, Malvern’s council leader Sarah Rouse called on the public to channel the public spirit they showed during the first lockdown.

Cllr Rouse said: “Nobody wanted a second lockdown but it is necessary to bring infection rates down, protect our NHS and save lives.

“The district showed amazing community spirit earlier this year to come through the first lockdown, and I know people will rally together again to support each other.

“We are doing all we can to support businesses and residents during this challenging period.

“It’s really important we all do everything we can to protect ourselves, our loved ones and each other, by following the new rules and helping us get back on top of this virus.”