"Be sensible, please": Sheffield health chief 'optimistic' as lockdown eases but urges caution
Sheffield’s health chief has spoken of his optimism as the city takes further steps out of lockdown today, however has warned that people must be cautions and ‘not muck it up now’.
Today (May 17) the next step in the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown comes into play, and people are allowed to mix indoors in limited groups, and hospitality venues can start to let people in.
This comes because the roadmap has so far gone to plan, with the infection rates in Sheffield steadily declining along with the number of people hospitalised with Covid-19.
As lockdown eases, Sheffield’s director of public health Gregg Fell has warned people not to get complacent and to follow the rules that remain in place, as well as to get vaccinated.
Mr Fell said: “We’re in a position now where we are beginning to get back to normal and there is a balance between this and keeping people safe. We’ve all worked incredibly hard to get to this point and my thanks go out to people across the city for everything that they have done. We should all be feeling optimistic now!
“That said, I would be lying if I were to say I’m not nervous about the next few weeks because with this easing, cases will inevitably rise. We desperately need people to remember the basics and to take it steady – it’s really important that we don’t all go overboard and muck it up now.”
Mr Fell credited Sheffield’s successful vaccinated programme for ensuring the city can unlock in step with the rest of the country.
He said: “I am pretty optimistic overall for the next few months because in Sheffield our vaccination rates are high, better than I could have dreamed of. 60 per cent of Sheffield residents have had their first dose and 25 per cent of those people have had their second dose.
"The impact of this going forward is huge – the vaccination does reduce transmission. Thank you to everyone who has come forward. It has been, and still is, a huge logistical effort.”
Looking to the future, Mr Fell added: “What now for us in Sheffield? Well, it’s important that we continue to work through our vaccination programme to our younger age groups who can become ill with Covid.
"It’s important to still follow the basics. If you have symptoms do not hug anyone, stay at home and isolate. Hugging is a tricky one and it’s really a judgement call – it’s allowed, and loads of people will have been waiting for this chance but it’s not without its risks and some are more vulnerable than others.
"Just be sensible, please. There’s little doubt that at some stage we will get other variants here and at that point we’ll need to take stock, be careful and put more safety in place.
"Travel will lead to variants spreading so remember that if you travel from abroad, isolate when you get home if you’re told to. I can’t stress enough now important that is.
“If you’re offered the vaccine take it and encourage others to all well. Get tested twice a week if you can, meet outside if possible and if you do meet inside, make sure the space is well ventilated by opening doors and windows.”