Health chiefs across the North East and North Cumbria are warning local communities to remain vigilant and #doyourbit to prevent lockdowns and protect each other from coronavirus.
While rates of the virus have remained generally stable across the region, health and care leaders are reminding communities that this could change at any point and they must not become complacent.
As many other areas in the country face the prospect of local lockdowns, leaders are saying now is the time to make sure people are aware of the rules and to be clear of the consequences of not following them. In some cases, you could be breaking the law and people found flouting these rules could be fined.
They are reminding people to:
- Keep your distance and follow rules on social distancing – please stay apart 2 metres from others where possible. If it isn’t – one metre with mitigations such as a face covering.
- Know how many households you can mix with – whether that’s overnight, inside or outside. Doing this reduces the risk of spreading the virus. It is against the law for groups of more than 30 people to take place in private – including gardens and outdoor spaces.
- Wear a face covering – especially in enclosed public spaces when social distancing can be difficult or when you are in contact with people you would not normally meet. This includes when you are using public transport, car sharing and using taxis. Please remember to wear a face covering if you are attending health care settings such as a hospital, clinic, GP surgery or pharmacist.
- Keep those hands extra clean – wash hands for 20 seconds and often. Use soap and water to wash your hands or use hand sanitiser. It is especially important to do this when you:
- get home or into work
- blow your nose or sneeze
- eat or handle food or drinks
The government has also introduced fines for those who hold illegal gatherings of over 30 people. If you are found to be involved in the holding of an illegal gathering of more than 30 people, police may issue fines of up to £10,000 to those who break the law.
Professor Chris Gray, clinical lead for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System said: “So far in our region the rates have remained stable but people must not become complacent – this could change at any time and we are all at risk. Please don’t think the virus has disappeared or that the rules don’t matter – they do and your actions can make all the difference.
“The virus is still very much out there and the last thing we all need is another lockdown or even worse, to put at risk some of the vulnerable people in our communities or our dedicated health and care staff and other key workers who have done so much to protect us.
“Even if you’re young, fit and healthy you can still pass on the virus to others – which could be your parents or grandparents.”
Symptoms of coronavirus include a high temperature, new continuous cough and a loss or change in your sense of taste and smell. If you experience any of these symptoms, you must isolate immediately and call 119 and arrange for a test. If you develop symptoms your household contacts will also be required to self-isolate. More information on self-isolation is available on the NHS website.