'No hugging this Easter', Warwickshire residents urged - The Rugby Observer

'No hugging this Easter', Warwickshire residents urged

Rugby Editorial 31st Mar, 2021   0

‘NO HUGGING this Easter’ – that is the message to Warwickshire residents, who are being urged to stick to the rules this Bank Holiday weekend to ensure the county is not hit by another surge in Covid cases.

Health officials, Warwickshire County Council and Warwickshire Police are warning people not to risk prolonging lockdown restrictions by relaxing the rules.

Katie Spence, Deputy Director with Public Health England (PHE) West Midlands, said: “I am concerned that with the freedoms given to us this week, especially with socialising over the Easter bank holiday, rates could go up again. We need people to stick to the rules, otherwise the roadmap is at risk.

“Let’s all hope that we have some good weather this Easter. We all know that outdoor is safer. It will be lovely for people to see friends and family again, but we do still need to be cautious because we haven’t got a fully vaccinated population yet.”

She also revealed that PHE analysis suggested that the Covid-19 vaccination programme prevented 6,100 deaths in those aged 70 and older in England up to the end of February.

She said: “This is great news, and just shows how important it is to get your vaccine when offered to protect yourself and your loved ones.”

Monica Fogarty, Chief Executive of Warwickshire County Council, said new variants and rising cases across Europe meant the pandemic was not over yet.

She said: “We must all remain cautious and continue to do the right thing for Warwickshire by washing our hands, wearing a face covering and keeping a distance.

“I would also like to encourage people to come forward for a vaccine when they are called so that we can continue on the roadmap out of lockdown.”

ACC Alex Franklin Smith from Warwickshire Police said residents needed to be aware that restrictions were still in place due to the ongoing risk from the virus.

He said: “Please enjoy the activities that are now allowed, but make sure you know the rules and stick to them.

“We know it is tempting to relax as we head towards the end of lockdown, but we cannot risk undoing all that has been achieved so far.

“We have seen an increase in parties and gatherings in recent weeks, and this is not sensible. Where it proves necessary, we will enforce the rules to protect our communities against blatant breaches.

“The government’s roadmap out of lockdown does give people hope and some light at the end of the tunnel, but we cannot be complacent.

“It is vital people continue to follow the rules at each stage when restrictions are eased. Otherwise, we risk undermining our efforts up to now.”

Up to six people, or two households, can now meet outdoors under the new rules, introduced on Monday (March 29).

Outdoor sports and leisure activities such as golf courses, football pitches, tennis courts and outdoor swimming pools have now also reopened, and organised outdoor team sports can take place.

But residents must not socialise indoors with anyone they do not live with unless they are part of a support bubble.

Visit https://tinyurl.com/juradzpe or www.warwickshire.gov.uk/coronavirus for more information on the latest guidelines.

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