Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s director of public health, Krishna Ramkhelawon, has welcomed the government’s temporary strengthening of Covid-19 measures in response to concerns over the newly identified Covid-19 Omicron variant.
What are the new measures?
From Tuesday 30 November, face coverings will once again be compulsory in shops and on public transport in England
All contacts of suspected Omicron cases will be required to self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of a person's vaccination status
From 04:00 GMT on Tuesday, anyone entering the UK will require a PCR test within 48 hours of arrival and will need to self-isolate until they have a negative result
Students in year 7 and above strongly advised to wear face masks in communal areas unless exempt, this also applies to staff and visitors
These are temporary measures and will be reviewed after three weeks.
Krishna said: “I welcome the government’s latest measures in response to concerns over the newly identified Covid-19 Omicron variant. Today I will also be issuing guidance to all secondary schools and education settings advising them that all students aged 11 and above right through to university, should wear face coverings in communal areas and this will also be mandated for staff and visitors.
“Covid-19 rates in Southend have increased by a third on the previous week and that alone shows we must remain vigilant. If we do not protect ourselves by following the safety measures, then containing any new variants is going to be even more difficult for us to do. We are reliant on people resuming previous behaviours including mask wearing, social distancing, hand washing and room ventilation.”
The council held its first community vaccination pop-up clinic at the Balmoral Community Centre last weekend to target areas with low vaccination uptake. Over 230 people aged 12 and above were vaccinated of which 125 were for Covid-19 with the remainder being flu vaccinations. Pop-up vaccination clinics will be running every weekend until further notice.
Krishna added: “I was really pleased with the uptake at our first pop-up clinic, and we will continue to target areas with low vaccination uptake ensuring everyone has access. We are calling on people to do the right thing now because we can prevent further restrictions.
“If you have any COVID-19 symptoms you must self-isolate and get a PCR test. I urge everyone to take up their offer of a vaccine and booster, wear a mask in crowded places, shops and on public transport and continue to wash hands thoroughly and regularly. I thank the people of Southend for their support as the pandemic continues to throw us challenges.” Coronavirus is still a serious health risk. To help protect yourself and others, you should:
get your first and second vaccine doses as soon as possible, and your booster if you’re eligible – you can book an appointment online or walk-in sessions are available every day
take lateral tests regularly, especially when mixing with other households, and report your results – order test packs online, collect from all Southend libraries, Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre or register for a collect code to pick up test kits from pharmacies
book a free PCR test if you have any symptoms, are a close contact or if you test positive on a lateral flow test, and isolate if required
wear a face covering in crowded places and on public transport
meet outside where possible, or let fresh air in
keep your social contacts to a minimum
check into venues when you go out
wash your hands with soap regularly, and for at least 20 seconds
use hand sanitizer
Please visit the council’s Coronavirus advice and support pages for more information on vaccination, testing and protecting yourself and others.