coronavirus

Public health leaders urge caution as Covid restrictions are set to ease

PEOPLE in Somerset are being encouraged to proceed with caution and act responsibly as the country prepares for the easing of national Covid-19 restrictions.

From Monday (July 19) the majority of legal restrictions relating to Covid-19 will be lifted, but the risks of Covid-19 have not gone away, say public health leaders.

Somerset’s Covid-19 Local Engagement Board and the NHS in Somerset are reminding people that everyone has a role to play in protecting both the vulnerable and frontline workers as we move into this new phase.

Although case rates in Somerset are lower than the national average, case numbers of Covid-19 are still rising in the county and are expected to continue to rise for the time being.

Somerset County Council’s Director of Public Health, Professor Trudi Grant, said: “We know it’s been a tough 18 months but people in Somerset have done a fantastic job helping to keep infection rates down.

“While we all want to return to normal, we also have to remember that the behaviours we have adopted still play a key role in protecting ourselves and other people.

“The risks of Covid remain, and we recommend you continue wearing a face covering in indoor spaces such as in shops, on public transport or in healthcare settings.

“Please continue to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly, meet up outside rather than inside, and, if you are inside make sure you let the fresh air in.

“Getting double vaccinated, self-isolating when required, and using rapid tests twice a week will also help limit the spread of the virus – so important to help protect ourselves and those around us.”

Cllr Clare Paul, Somerset County Council Cabinet Member for Public Health, said: “I want to thank the people of Somerset for all you have done and continue to do to protect our county during these difficult times.

“It is good news that the success of the vaccination programme in England means the majority of restrictions can be eased. However, we all still have a responsibility to do everything we can to look out for one another.”

Clinical Director at NHS Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Alex Murray added: “We have seen a fantastic response in the local take-up of the Covid vaccination and we want to thank everyone who has supported the programme and had their jab so far.

“All adults aged 18 and over can get their jab, and we urge anyone who has not yet had their vaccine, to book an appointment through the National Booking Service or go to one of our walk-in clinics.

“Over the past few weeks, we have seen an increase in demand on all healthcare services and it is really important that we continue to help protect the most vulnerable people and our health and care teams by following the latest recommendations to restrict the spread of coronavirus and have your vaccine when you are offered.”

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