As lockdown eases don’t let COVID creep back


Plea to avoid leaving the door ajar for COVID to infect more people

Ahead of the “stay at home” rule being lifted next Monday, we are being urged to stick to the disciplines that have driven down COVID cases since the peak in January.

Amongst the changes coming in from next week people will be able to meet outdoors in groups of up to six, or two households.  The change coincides with the Easter break for schools later in the week.

Infection rates in the Cherwell District stood at 25.2 per 100,000 people last week.   This is now the lowest in the county, against 30.2 in Oxford and 41.5 in South Oxfordshire.   However the decline in new infections across the county has stopped, leading to a call from Oxfordshire’s Deputy Director of Public Health, Val Messenger, for people to remain extra vigilant.

Val Messenger said: “As lockdown restrictions ease a little more on 29 March, our hope is that people will stick to the slightly adjusted rules and avoid leaving the door ajar for COVID to infect more people and drive case numbers up again.

“Keeping COVID under control at the start of 2021 has proven to be a very long battle. Yesterday (23 March) was exactly one year on from the start of the first lockdown. It has been an incredibly challenging year, with tragic loss of life and huge strains on our work and family lives. However, it has also been a year of learning what works and what does not in terms of combating the formidable opponent that this virus undoubtedly is.

“As we move cautiously into the next stage of the roadmap, I would ask people to proceed with care and vigilance. Even people who have been vaccinated should continue to abide by the rules. The vaccines seem to be performing as we hoped, but our own personal and collective discipline buys those vaccines the space to do their work. When you get the call to take the jab, please do so – it keeps you and others much safer.

Anyone in a public facing role is reminded that free twice weekly rapid testing is available at Spiceball Leisure Centre.   People with symptoms of COVID-19 should book a test at one of Oxfordshire’s symptomatic testing sites which include the Woodgreen Leisure Centre.

Evidence shows that it is safer for people to meet outdoors rather than indoors. From March 29 outdoor gatherings (including in private gardens) of either 6 people (the Rule of 6) or two households will also be allowed.   Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts, and open-air swimming pools, will also be allowed to reopen, and people will be able to take part in formally organised outdoor sports.

From next week people should continue to work from home where they can and minimise the number of journeys they make, avoiding travel at the busiest times and routes. Travel abroad will continue to be prohibited, other than for a small number of permitted reasons.

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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