Sheffield health chief praises decision to delay easing of restrictions

Sheffield’s director of public health has welcomed the delay to the easing of lockdown, saying it helps ensure he city does not waste the hard work put in so far.

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 3:49 pm

Greg Fell’s statements came after Boris Johnson made the announcement confirming the delays in the Commons yesterday (June 14).

The Prime Minister said that the restrictions currently in place would remain in place until July 19, amid fears that the Delta variant, which originated in India, would spread and put too much pressure on the NHS if restrictions were lifted as planned on June 21.

Mr Fell said: “It’s the right decision to delay this final stage of the plan. We’ve all worked incredibly hard to get to this point but we mustn’t get it wrong now when new variants are spreading across the UK, mutating and doing their best to survive.

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Director of Public Health Greg Fell in Peace Gardens during lockdown.
Director of Public Health Greg Fell in Peace Gardens during lockdown.

“As ever, my thanks go out to people across the city for their patience. I know it’s hard waiting longer for all restrictions to be lifted.

“It seems to me the best course is for each one of us to keep going cautiously because what we do personally will be a part of either permanently suppressing Covid until we can exit or seeing repeated variants and surges. As we are all well aware, it is in everybody’s interest to keep spread low to protect individuals and protect the economy.”

Mr Fell added: “My main message now is to get tested regularly, if you can, and if you get symptoms, please get tested and self-isolate until you get your results to protect those around you. Ignoring symptoms and not isolating if you have symptoms will definitely make our recovery slower.

"As I’ve said before, our vaccination programme is going really well in Sheffield and the impact of this going forward is huge. We’ll be able to do more of the things we love from pubs and parties, to holidays and hugging. If you haven’t been vaccinated, please do get your appointment booked.

“These vaccines have been in development for years with similar viruses and are safe and effective. Mild side effects such as a sore arm, feeling tired and flu like symptoms from vaccines are common.

"Not everyone gets them and if they do, they should only last a few days. They are no worse than a hangover or a sleepless night and the effects of COVID can last much longer. I’d urge young people over 18 to book their vaccine to reduce the possibility of them passing the virus onto others. We must remember that people in this age group can get ill from Covid.”

Boris Johnson did lift some restrictions, including the 30 person cap on weddings. However social distancing rules will be in place at venues.

It was said at the press conference yesterday that by delaying the easing of restrictions, vaccines could be offered to more over-18s in the country.

However, Kier Starmer and other Labour party members criticised the Prime Minister’s delay, blaiming the need for it on the Government’s failure to close the borders to reduce the spread of the Delta variant from other countries.