The West of England’s metro mayor is urging people to start wearing masks again in public places after a spike in Covid cases across the South West.
Dan Norris is sending a poster urging people to wear masks to thousands of public-facing businesses.
He will also take out pro-mask adverts in local papers and has written to Health Secretary Sajid Javid asking for extra funding for the West of England.
The south west of England has seen a huge spike in cases, with some of the blame being laid on errors at a lab in Wolverhampton which told many people who had the virus that they were Covid-free.
“Through no fault of the NHS, local civic leadership, local businesses, or local people, infections continued to spread unchecked within our region,” he said.
“Now we face a hugely difficult situation.”
Mr Norris warned that the NHS is facing a looming crisis which could bring it “to its knees”.
“There is a looming crisis,” he said.
“The last thing I want to see is more death and heartbreak, with patients queuing on trolleys as our precious NHS is brought to its knees.”
Instead, he asked the public to give the NHS the best possible present this Christmas by wearing a mask, getting vaccinated and washing their hands.
It comes as cases have soared in south-west England, with Bath and North East Somerset seeing 1,079.7 cases per 100,000 people, according to the latest Government data up to October 19.
This compares with the England-wide average of 482 per 100,000.
Meanwhile, South Gloucestershire has 931.5 cases per 100,000 and Bristol has 763.7 per 100,000.