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Director of Public Health Devon reiterates a message of caution

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Reacting to the Prime Minister’s statement this afternoon (Monday 12 July), Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon reiterated a message of caution.

“The government’s intention is to no longer make it necessary by law to follow restrictions that include the wearing of face coverings and social distancing. Instead, it will be down to us all to be personally responsible for our behaviours and actions.

“I am pleased to hear clarification from our Prime Minister that the wearing of face coverings in crowded places – which would include public transport and any indoor space where there are other people – is still recommended, despite it no longer being a legal requirement.”

Case numbers in Devon are rising sharply, mostly in the younger age groups. Thankfully that’s not reflected yet in the number of coronavirus-related hospitalisations or deaths in the county, but those numbers are also rising.

“There’s no question about us sitting back and doing nothing,” said Steve Brown. “We need to take personal responsibility, remain cautious, and continue with the efforts we have made so far in helping to stop the spread.”

Coronavirus is airborne, and it spreads more easily when people are close to one another.

So try to keep your distance from others when in public spaces.

Continue to wear face coverings when indoors in public places where there are other people. That includes public transport, and it may include shops and other indoor premises.

Wash your hands properly and regularly. Good hand hygiene is especially important as a protector against viruses.

Try to arrange to meet friends outside rather than indoors as the risk of catching or spreading coronavirus is greatly reduced outside. But if you’re indoors, please make sure that there’s plenty of fresh air.

Stay at home if you are unwell. If you have any of the main symptoms – high temperature, new and continuous cough or change to your usual sense of taste or smell – then arrange a PCR test and stay at home.

Many people will be anxious about the removal of restrictions and some will be less comfortable about going out. So please look out for each other. Know who may be struggling and support them. If in the company of someone who is uncomfortable with others not wearing face coverings for example, wear your face covering.

“Employers also, the rules have changed, but please continue to do the right thing by your workforce and your customers,” said Steve Brown.

“The goalposts may have moved with the intended lifting of restrictions, but our responsibility as members of our family, friends and society have not changed. Please choose to do the right thing for ourselves and others.”