Derbyshire residents urged 'not to become complacent' as lockdown restrictions ease.
Derbyshire's director of public health is urging caution as the county begins to emerge from national lockdown restrictions.
From Monday 29 March 2021, the first step on the government's roadmap out of COVID-19 will see up to 6 people, or 2 households, able to meet outside or in private gardens with social distancing.
Outdoor sports facilities, including golf courses, tennis and basketball courts can re-open and people can take part in formally organised outdoor sport.
As restrictions ease, residents are reminded that they should stay local and minimise journeys. People who are able to work from home should continue to do so.
Dean Wallace, who is leading Derbyshire's response to the outbreak, is urging people not to be complacent.
Mr Wallace said:
"Although numbers of infections are going down across the country with the new more transmissible variant we know it doesn't take much to start an outbreak, and with many parts of Europe experiencing another wave we really cannot be too careful.
"With the vaccination roll-out, rates dropping and the warmer weather coming, we are heading into better days.
"But as the vaccination programme has not started to reach the age groups that are most likely to spread the virus it is really important we remain vigilant and follow the rules and guidance. Otherwise, the risk of new variants increases which would put everyone's hard work at risk.
"As more parts of the economy and society in general begin to open up it will become increasingly important to follow the messages we all know – hands, face, space - and isolate if you have symptoms, to keep the rates low.
"And as people start to move around more, this increases the chance of the virus coming into communities. No community is an unconnected island and the picture can change quickly.
"The other point to bear in mind is that we still haven't seen the full impact of the schools returning on infection rates so we need to stay cautious.
"My message to everyone is keep going, we're nearly there but not yet. We mustn't undo all the hard work we've all done to get to this point.
"So I urge everyone in Derbyshire to do the right thing to protect themselves, their loved ones and their friends. There has never been a more important time to summon our famous Derbyshire Spirit.
"I'd also like to ask everyone to keep doing what they have been doing for the past few months – washing their hands regularly, staying apart and wearing a face covering if they do need to leave their homes for specific reasons.
"People without symptoms who are unable to work from home and who are still mixing with colleagues and the public are asked to get tested regularly.
"Anyone who develops symptoms – a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a change to their taste or smell – should self-isolate immediately and book a test by ringing NHS 119 or book a test online.
Mr Wallace added:
"It is vitally important that you do not leave your home while you wait for your results or if you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace and asked to self-isolate because you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
"If we all act now to keep infection rates low rates across Derbyshire we can all get back to doing some of the things we love. If we all follow the guidance then together we can beat this virus."
Find out more about coronavirus, how and when to get a test and how to access support.
Posted: Wed, 31 Mar 2021 10:05 by Loran Stonehouse