This has been a frightening and difficult time for so many people. The dangers of coronavirus have been obvious and we have been strongly advised to limit social contact as much as possible to protect ourselves and others. This had been most emphatic for older people and those with other conditions that make them more susceptible to the worst consequences of the illness. So it is understandable that some people are still worried about restarting such simple activities as shopping, seeing friends and going out for meals.
The good news is: we now have very low levels of COVID-19 in Bath and North East Somerset and have a real chance of keeping it that way through the summer.
The bad news is: you can already see, in the UK and abroad, just how quickly this virus can break out given any opportunity.
The ugly truth is: all of us will suffer if there is another lockdown, and all of us must remain super-careful it we want to stay free.
Therefore, while we would encourage you to take those first steps back to a more normal and satisfying life, we are still asking people to take basic sensible precautions when they do go out:
• Keep two metres away from anyone not in your immediate household, and particularly avoid face to face contact.
• Keep your hands and face as clean as possible, using hand sanitiser wherever it is available when you are out.
• Avoid crowded places and use quieter ones where you can, and particularly avoid any crowded indoor spaces where you can’t keep apart from others.
• Use a face mask whenever you are in an indoor space such as a shop, unless you need to take it off to eat or drink.
• Avoid public transport, particularly when it is busy, and if you are on a bus or train use a face mask.
• Avoid shouting or singing in any public place.
We continue to closely monitor the situation locally with our partners, including the NHS, to reduce the risk of outbreaks and identify and suppress the spread of the virus if there is an outbreak. You can find our Local Outbreak Management Plan on our website. We promise to let you know if the time comes when you need to be stricter again.
Finally I would also ask that if you are offered a flu jab please make sure you take it up. That is also so important.
Dr Bruce Laurence, Director of Public Health, Bath & North East Somerset Council