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Caution is the watchword over the next weeks

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Caution is the watchword over the next weeks, warns Devon’s Director of Public Health Devon.

Along with, ‘just because we can, doesn’t mean we should’, ‘taking a cautious approach’ to the latest easing of restrictions is the mantra from public health experts up and down the land.

So while the choice to hug our family and friends, or to choose not to just yet, is ours to take, Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon advises caution.

Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon
Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon

“I’m not going to tell people that they mustn’t hug, but I will resist and my advice to others is to also exercise caution,” says Steve Brown.

“While coronavirus is still present in our communities, and people are still at risk of catching it and spreading it, the common sense approach is the cautious approach.

“One in three people who have the virus don’t show any symptoms of having it. Unless detected, they will unknowingly spread it to others.

“The vaccines, as effective as they are at preventing people becoming seriously ill or dying from coronavirus, do not offer guaranteed protection against the virus.

“And although not an issue right now in Devon, we are learning more about the latest strain of the virus, the Indian strain of concern, that we hear reported as being 50 per cent better at transmission between people.

“Similarly, I ask people to remain ever vigilant of risk as we take in the latest easing of restrictions.

“People can now meet indoors in groups fewer than six, or from two households; and staying the night is permitted.

“And we’re allowed to travel a bit further, and sit indoors when eating out.

“But in all of these things, please be cautious. Just because we can, doesn’t mean we must.

“This pandemic has often felt like a roller coaster, and right now we are I fear at a point where a lot of the good practice – the adhering to the common sense rules, which include social distancing, wearing of face coverings, and regular washing of our hands – could be undone if we allow ourselves to take our eye off the ball. The consequence of that is that numbers of people with coronavirus in Devon will rise again.

“Coronavirus is not beaten yet. The government is already alluding to the possibility that the next easing of restrictions in June may be delayed if the data does not support it.

“We need to play the long game if we are to beat this. And that means taking small and cautious steps as the restrictions ease.”