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Sefton Council Leader ‘confident’ Borough’s people & businesses will continue to protect each other as new COVID-19 variant announced

Cllr Ian Maher
Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher

Cllr Ian Maher has said he is confident people across the Borough will continue to do all they can to protect themselves and others from COVID-19.

Best non-clinical protection

Responding to the announcement on Saturday that cases of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant had been found in the UK, Cllr Maher said: “It’s expected that the government will introduce precautionary measures this week, including the compulsory wearing of facemasks in shops and on public transport.

“Wearing face masks in busy and indoor public spaces, is what we have been advising, particularly as a recent global study found masks provide the best non-clinical protection for ourselves and others.

“It’s a minimum effort or inconvenience that can do so much to prevent us, our friends and loved ones and others from COVID-19 as well as other seasonal viruses such as flu.”

Cllr Maher also urged everyone eligible for a vaccination, whether their first, second or a booster to book their appointment now by calling 119 or visiting  www.nhs.uk/coronavirus-vaccination.

Vaccine confidence

He said: “Work is underway to find out more about the new variant, but experts are confident that our current vaccines will continue to be our best line of defence.

“Over the coming days, the Government is expected to widen the group of people who can book booster vaccinations, which are currently are available to people aged over 40 and in other specific groups.

“I would encourage people to keep an eye on the latest developments and book a jab as soon as they become eligible.

“And if you’ve missed you first and second vaccination, it’s not too late to book them now.”

Information and updates are also available on the Sefton Council website at www.sefton.gov.uk/covid19

Tests

Sefton Council is still reminding anyone who starts to show COVID symptoms of a high temperature, a new persistent cough or a loss of taste or smell, should book a PCR test by calling 119 or visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus. And it is recommending that people out and about on a regular basis, meeting up with groups or attending indoor events to carry out regular tests using the rapid home test kits available free from pharmacies and other locations.

Swab Squads will be out across Sefton over the coming week, providing free lateral flow testing kits and vaccination information and advice. Details will be published on the Council’s @SeftonCouncil Twitter feed.

Efforts and sacrifices

Cllr Maher added: “People and businesses across Sefton have made great efforts and sacrifices to look after each other and themselves throughout the pandemic and I want to thank them again for that.

“I am confident that when asked to do simple things like wearing masks and getting vaccinated they will continue to do so, which will vastly improve the chances that we can all enjoy the Christmas we missed out on last year.”