Harlow residents urged to keep Covid in check as planned easing of restrictions is delayed
Covid-19 / Mon 14th Jun 2021 at 06:33pm
HARLOW residents and businesses are being urged to continue following protective Covid-19 measures after the Government announced today there would be up to a four-week delay to the planned unlocking on Monday 21 June. Step Four of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown has been delayed until Monday 19 July.
Step four will see all legal limits on social contact removed. The delay comes after the highly transmissible Delta variant – now the dominant Covid-19 variant across the UK – has resulted in a recent rapid increase in the number of cases.
The Government has delayed the final step to allow for more time to gather further data and assess whether vaccinations are breaking the link between the number of cases and hospital admissions, or simply weakening it.
The delay will also enable the vaccination programme to continue to roll out at pace, enabling everyone over the age of 18 to receive a first or second dose of the vaccine before 19 July.
Cllr Kevin Bentley, Leader of Essex County Council, said: “As a country, we absolutely need to tread a fine line when it comes to the further easing of restrictions, balancing the need to contain the spread of the virus with the wider impact on local businesses and the wider economy.
“I know the announcement today will cause concern amongst residents and businesses alike, particularly those within the hospitality sector. However, I would like to reassure them that we have prepared for such an eventuality and we are here to support them.
“It is vital that the decision to proceed with any further unlocking is based on facts and insight so that we can take the necessary action to keep people safe and well.”
More information about the support for Essex residents and businesses, including couples who have a wedding planned during the four weeks after 21 June, will be shared tomorrow (15 June).
Cllr John Spence, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, said: “The Government has always been clear that the dates set out in the roadmap were a guide and that any decisions would be informed by what the data tells us. The data is very clearly telling us that we need to proceed with caution.
“I share the disappointment that lots of people will no doubt be feeling today. However, the delay is a reminder to us all that the Covid-19 pandemic is not yet over, although the ending of restrictions is on the horizon.”
Dr Mike Gogarty, Essex County Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “I cannot emphasise enough the importance of following the rules and getting vaccinated when it is your turn. The most severe cases we’re seeing in hospital at present involve individuals who have not been vaccinated or who have only had one dose.
“It is vital that people do not make-up their own rules or believe their actions won’t make a difference. Everyone’s behaviour is crucial to us managing the spread of the virus.
“I am urging everyone to follow the guidance, test regularly and get both doses of the vaccine when it’s your turn. By doing this, we will Keep Covid in Check.”
Essex County Council (ECC) is sharing regular advice and guidance with residents throughout its Let’s Keep Covid in Check campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. More information about the support available for Essex residents and businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic is available on ECC’s Coronavirus Hub.