Sheffield health chief's important message about lifting of final Covid restrictions
Sheffield’s public health chief has issued an important message about the need for continued caution after the final Covid restrictions are lifted.
The last legal rules are due to end on July 19, subject to a final decision next Monday, meaning nightclubs can reopen, theatres, sports stadiums and other venues can once again operate at full capacity and masks will no longer be required in shops and on public transport.
Greg Fell, Sheffield’s director of public health, said he supported the fourth and final stage of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown but that it didn’t mean people should let their guard down completely.
Mr Fell has already said he plans to continue wearing a mask once the legal requirement to do so is scrapped and he has now called on the people of Sheffield to keep taking sensible precautions to keep the virus at bay.
In a statement issued today, Tuesday, July 6, he explained that the lifting of restrictions would not mean the end of Covid.
“Learning to live with Covid cannot mean simply allowing infections to spread unchecked. The impact is clear – many suffering the symptoms of Long Covid, inequalities exacerbated, pupils missing school, staff shortages in the NHS and social care as well as in businesses,” he said.
“Across the country, more people have been vaccinated which means more people are protected from getting seriously ill if they were to catch the virus. This is vital in overcoming Covid and seeing Sheffield get back to normal as much as is practically possible.
“Long Covid is still a concern, many people are suffering, and we are still learning about the effects of long Covid and the impact it has on people’s lives. You can still be poorly if you are double vaccinated and there are still plenty of people out there who are yet to be vaccinated.
“It’s why I want to stress the importance of keeping hygiene levels up. Let’s all continue to wash our hands on a regular basis, get a test if you have symptoms and self-isolate. This will stop the spread even more and is an added bonus to the vaccine.
“Vaccines are part of the answer but don’t eradicate Covid, we will learn to live with it as safely as possible. However, we know the measures we have taken have worked so far; masks have made a huge impact and there is overwhelming evidence to support this. We would have a lot less freedom if it wasn’t for the impact wearing a mask in closed spaces has had on transmission rates.
“I’m confident Sheffield will recover well, and we’ll see fewer hospital admissions. Covid rates may rise initially, but importantly a decrease in hospital admissions and as a result, fewer deaths, is a huge step in the right direction.
“A careful exit is necessary, not only for us as individuals, but for reassurances for businesses too, knowing they won’t be in a situation where they have to close again is vital for them.
“We’ll be keeping a close eye on future guidance to make sure we are as prepared as possible, protecting Sheffield residents and moving forward towards a better future.”