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Somerset public urged to follow guidlines as new Covid restrictions are introduced

HEALTH leaders in Somerset are urging everyone to continue taking sensible precautions and follow national guidance as the Government begins to move to ‘Plan B’ Covid restrictions.

The call comes as Omicron spreads through regions of the UK, raising further concerns about the pressure on NHS services.

A spokesperson for Somerset County Council said: “The focus on vaccination as the primary way we can protect ourselves and our NHS remains clearer than ever, and the council’s Public Health leaders are reminding anyone who is yet to receive their first dose, second dose, or booster to step forward when invited.

“Please check your eligibility and book online before walking into a vaccination centre.”

New measures

In addition to ramping up the booster programme to ensure access for all over 18s by the end of January, the Prime Minister has announced the following new measures as part of ‘Plan B’:

  • From Friday, December 10, the legal requirement to wear a face mask has been extended to most public indoor venues, including theatres and cinemas.
  • From Monday, December 13, those who can, will be advised to work from home.
  • From Wednesday, December 15, and subject to parliamentary approval, the NHS Covid Pass on the NHS App will become mandatory for entry into nightclubs and settings where large crowds gather.
  • People will be able to demonstrate proof of two vaccine doses via the app. A negative lateral flow test will also be accepted.
  • At a date to be determined daily testing will replace self isolation for Omicron contacts.

Working urgently

Professor Trudi Grant, Director of Public Health for the county council, said:  “While the emergence of a new Covid variant was expected, the scientific community is working urgently to understand the impact of Omicron with regards to vaccines, treatments and transmissibility.

“We continue to work closely with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and regional partners to provide public health advice and support to people who have been identified as close contacts of cases of Omicron.

“UKHSA is the lead agency for responding to cases of Omicron Covid19. The global community is still learning about this new variant and its potential impacts.

Sensible precautions

Cllr Clare Paul, Somerset County Council member for Health and Wellbeing said: “It is more important than ever that everyone continues to take sensible precautions and follow the national measures that are in place.

“That means washing hands regularly, wearing face coverings when required, taking lateral flow tests before a period of high risk such as visiting a family member or attending an event, getting both doses of your vaccine, and booking your booster when you are able.

“If you have any symptoms of Covid, you should self-isolate immediately and get a PCR test.”

  • For self-isolation support you can contact the Coronavirus Helpline on 0300 790 6275. It’s open from 8am to 6 pm every day, including weekends.

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