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“What’s happening in Exeter is not unexpected and has been planned for,” says Dr Pearson

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Asked today whether Exeter is facing a fuller lockdown anytime soon, Dr Virginia Pearson, Director of Public Health for Devon, said:

Dr Virginia Pearson, Director of Public Health Devon“Exeter has seen a recent sharp spike in cases, most of which are in the University student population. The outbreak is currently contained, and so Exeter is not in the territory for broad lockdown within the city at this time.

“What’s happening in Exeter is not unexpected and has been planned for. Exeter is now experiencing what is being seen elsewhere in universities across the country.

“We are tracking positive cases constantly to be able to respond quickly, through daily meetings with the University of Exeter, Exeter College, Public Health England, Exeter City Council and the Police.

“The University has a comprehensive set of measures in place to reduce transmission among its student and staff population, and their planning has enabled early visibility of the issue and enabled a swift response.

“Other partner agencies are also working hard in the city and in communities across the county to support local businesses to continue to meet the national restrictions.

“More broadly, the county of Devon has been very successful so far in keeping the number of confirmed cases low, with levels remaining quite steady despite the cases in Exeter.

“However, it is a changing situation and we cannot for one moment become complacent.

“Now is the time for renewed effort by all of us to make sure that we follow the guidance. To avoid far tighter restrictions on our movements, we must all play our part:

• keep a safe distance from others, 2 metres is preferable
• wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water and use hand sanitiser where it is provided
• wear a face covering when indoors in public spaces with other people from outside your household or bubble; and when in enclosed public spaces such as on public transport

“If you have symptoms – high temperature, new and continuous cough, or change in your sense of smell or taste – you must self-isolate straight away. Do that, then arrange the test.

“If a person in your household tests positive, all members of the household must self-isolate for the full 14 days. Other members of the household do not need to be tested unless they develop symptoms.

“If you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace because you have been in close contact with a confirmed case, advising you to self-isolate for 14 days, do so for the full duration. Self-isolation properly is vital to reducing the risk of infection spreading. There must not be short cuts.

“These rules require us all to pay attention and to take individual and collective responsibility. The sooner we control the spread of the infection, the sooner we can expect restrictions to loosen.”