Despite new Omicron regulations, advice still applies says Sefton Health Chief Margaret Jones
Although more of the Government’s new regulations in response to the Omicron variant come into force this week, Margaret Jones who is Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health, is saying her message is remaining largely unchanged.
Two jabs & booster
Margaret said: “Making sure you are fully vaccinated, which means jabs one and two and a booster, is still the best protection from the COVID-19 virus.
“Anyone who has not yet had their first or second jab can book them now at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus-vaccination or by calling 119.
“And anyone aged over 30 or over can now go to www.nhs.uk/coronavirus-vaccination or call 119 to book their booster and make sure they are fully protected.”
Last night the Prime Minister said booster jabs would be offered to everyone over 18 in England from this week, and set a new target of giving boosters to all adults who want one by the end of the month. The NHS will prioritise those at greatest risk, so people are being asked to wait to be contacted by the NHS for their booster appointment.
Mrs Jones added: “From today, the Government says that everyone who can do, should work from home, which has been Sefton Council’s message all along.
“Where people do have to go into work, risk assessments must have been carried out and protection measure put in place. And we all need to follow the safety measures and guidance such as wearing face coverings, not congregating in communal areas and not sitting at desks that are marked as not in use.
“All along we have been urging people to wear face coverings in busy spaces and on public transport and since Friday, the Government regulations mean face coverings are required in most indoor settings, including cinemas and theatres.
“Global research has shown masks provide the best non-medical form of protection. The help prevent us from catching the virus and help stop us passing it on, which helps make sure we’re not taking home any uninvited and potentially dangerous guests this Christmas.”
Margaret continued: “Despite these new Government measures being introduced as a result of a new variant, the main symptoms we all need to watch out for are the same, a high temperature a persistent cough and a loss of taste or smell.
“Develop any of these and we need to book a PCR test straight away by calling 119 or visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.
“But even with no symptoms, we need to keep on using rapid home test kits, which are available from pharmacists or online, twice a week. And if a rapid test shows a positive result don’t hesitate. Start isolating and book a PCR test.”
The other new measure coming into force this week is the requirement, from Wednesday (15th December), for those aged 18 years or over to show proof of vaccination or a negative test in the last 48 hours. This applies to nightclubs and settings where large crowds gather and include unseated indoor events with 500 or more attendees, unseated outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees and any event with 10,000 or more attendees.
Margaret added: “Once again, while this is a new requirement, our advice remains consistent and that is to exercise care and common sense when attending an event of any size.
“All of these measures are about protecting ourselves but also helping to stop us passing on the virus to others.
“We know that we can carry the COVID-19 virus even when vaccinated and without even feeling its effects, which means we can then pass it on to people around us, including our family and friends, who may be at high risk.
“Christmas, as we all know, is a time for giving. Let’s make it one to remember for all the right reasons.”
More information can be found at www.sefton.gov.uk/covid-19