From Monday 19 July most legal restrictions introduced to help control the spread of coronavirus will be lifted.
This does not mean the pandemic is over though. In our district infection rates are high and now at levels we have not seen since late January/early February this year. You can view the figures on the Worcestershire coronavirus dashboard.
It is important you continue to take precautions to protect yourself and others, even if they are no longer required by law.
The Government has issued the following advice:
- You are no longer instructed to work from home but it is recommended you continue do so if you can. The Government has recommended businesses gradually return staff to offices and buildings over the summer.
- It is still expected and recommended people will wear face coverings in crowed areas such as on public transport. Some shops and businesses will still ask you to wear them as well.
- Continue to meet friends and family outside where it is safer. If meeting indoors open windows and let fresh air.
- Continue to limit the number of people you mix with, how long you mix with them for and how close you get to them.
Read how to stay safe and limit the spread of coronavirus from 19 July for the full guidance.
Join the millions already vaccinated
Anyone over 18 can now get their Covid-19 jab. Getting the Covid-19 vaccine will help protect you and others. The best protection is offered after two does so please make sure you go back for your second appointment if you’ve already had your first dose.
If you haven’t had your jab yet then you can book your Covid-19 vaccine online or during July you can visit one of the county’s walk-in vaccination clinics. The walk-in service is only for people who have not yet had their first dose.
We’ve seen huge amounts of young adults come forward for their jab but we know questions remain.
In her latest podcast, Dr Kathryn Cobain, Director of Public Health for Worcestershire, talks to Joe and Leon about how they feel about the vaccine and what it means to them.
Testing and self-isolation
If you have symptoms of Covid-19, even if they are mild, then you must self-isolate immediately and get a PCR test.
If your test is positive then you must continue to self-isolate. You must also self-isolate if you are told to do so by the NHS Covid-19 app or the NHS Test and Trace service.
You may be able to apply to us for a self-isolation support payment if you meet the criteria.
If you need help self-isolating then the Worcestershire Here 2 Help service is still available to support people who are unable to get help from family, friends or neighbours.
It is also recommended people without symptoms get a rapid (lateral flow) test twice a week.
Find out more about booking a test for Covid-19 if you have symptoms.
From 16 August, if you’re fully vaccinated or under 18, you will not need to self-isolate following close contact with someone who has Covid-19. You will still need to take a PCR test and self-isolate if it’s positive.
Looking after your mental health as restrictions are lifted
We know for some of you the lifting of restrictions may be causing difficult feelings.
If this is happening to you then it’s okay. There isn’t a right or wrong way to feel about this situation. The important thing is you do something about it.
The mental health charity Mind has produced some good information and self-help support on managing feelings about lockdown easing.
The pandemic has also disrupted our sleep patterns and increased our stress levels as we have adapted to a new way of living.
The Every Mind Matters website has a range of information on things you can try to help tackle some of these issues.
You are also encouraged to make your own free NHS online plan, with simple steps to help manage anxiety, sleep and to boost your mood.