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All set for a safe Chinese New Year

Restrictions are starting to ease, but you must still remember: Hands. Face. Space. Fresh air. Check the current rules.

Middlesbrough's Chinese community is getting set to celebrate New Year with more muted festivities than usual.

Chinese New Year 2021 takes place on Friday, February 12.

Unfortunately, the national lockdown ensures families and friends will not be able to come together in large numbers.

Nonetheless, members of the Tees Valley Chinese Community Centre are looking forward to marking the Year of the Ox.

Kew Lim, who represents the centre on Middlesbrough Council's Covid Champions network, said celebrations would be very different this year.

"The Chinese Community are very law-abiding," she said.

"We will stick to the lockdown restrictions and stay at home. We send our greetings to each other via social media.

"There will be no gatherings or celebrations this time.  A lot of discipline is needed as mentioned already."

The Year of the Ox will focus on relationships, the centre explained. In the Chinese zodiac, the Ox is very hardworking and methodical.

The centre has been working with its community to reinforce the stay at home message, and to discourage mixing between households.

Kew added: "It won't be long before we see the vaccination light at the end of the tunnel

"We wish you all good health, good luck and much happiness in the new year of the Ox."

As of Wednesday, Middlesbrough's infection rate was 343 per 100,000 of population.

The Council's Covid Champions network is continuing to promote public health messages to reduce the spread of the virus and encourage people to take the vaccine when invited.

The champions are doing in-depth work with communities more at risk from Covid-19, with support from the Council's Public Health team.

To find out more information visit the Covid Champions page.