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Devon’s Director of Public Health welcomes additional measures to curb rising cases

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The Director of Public Health Devon, Steve Brown, has welcomed the PM’s announcement this evening of additional measures to curb the rising cases of coronavirus.

Among the measures being introduced:

  • guidance to work from home will be reintroduced for those who can do so from Monday
  • from this Friday, mandatory masks will be extended to most public venues, including theatres and cinemas
  • from next week, the NHS COVID pass will be mandatory for entry into nightclubs and venues where larger crowds gather

Steve Brown, Devon’s Director of Public Health said:

“I welcome the move to introduce additional measures to curb the rise in cases of coronavirus, including the emerging Omicron variant.

“Case rates in Devon remain above the England average, and if we want to see that reversed – especially now that we’re into the colder winter months – we need to see some changes.

“Requirements to more routinely wear face coverings, and the guidance now for people to work from home if possible, are good additional measures.

“Little is known yet about the Omicron variant, although it’s suggested that it is more transmissible than the Delta variant.

“As cases of the new variant rise, we expect to see that pattern in Devon, with the likelihood that it overtakes the Delta virus to become the dominant strain across the country.

“We are monitoring the data very closely and will continue to take appropriate measures to curb transmission where we see outbreak situations.”

The public health advice is:

  • Take up the coronavirus vaccine as soon as you are eligible to do so
  • If you are identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for the Omicron variant, you must self-isolate for ten full days, regardless of your vaccination status or PCR test result.
  • If you are identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for coronavirus, but not the Omicron variant, you do not need to self-isolate if you are fully vaccinated.  If you are not fully vaccinated, you are required to self-isolate for ten days. We would encourage any close contacts of COVID cases, however, to take a PCR test.
  • If you develop symptoms of coronavirus, you must self-isolate pending the result of a PCR test
  • If you are meeting others, try to do so outside; and if meeting indoors, make sure there is lots of ventilation.  Even having the window open for ten minutes at a time helps to reduce the risk of transmission
  • It is a requirement to wear face coverings when on public transport, in shops and other settings
  • Even in places where it’s not currently a requirement, wearing a face covering, especially when indoors or in a confined space with people who you do not live with, reduces the risk of transmission
  • If you show no symptoms, regularly use lateral flow device tests – whenever you are meeting up with people or are in high risk places, such as indoor spaces with other people
  • Washing your hands regularly and properly is an effective way of reducing the spread of viruses