Rachel Flowers, Croydon’s director of public health, has repeated her warning that now is the most dangerous time in the coronavirus pandemic, with increased risk of passing on the deadly infection as lockdown eases.
Given the distressing images of business secretary, Alok Sharma, clearly being taken unwell when at the dispatch box in Parliament, barely 24 hours after Jacob Rees-Mogg had ordered the resumption of his own version of “herd immunity” in the House of Commons, Flowers’ warning to Croydon’s residents appears very well-founded.
Last weekend, The Association of Directors of Public Health, of which Flowers is a member, warned that the public must continue to observe social distancing rules, or risk increasing the levels of infection.
“Lockdown restrictions may be easing, but I cannot stress enough how the situation is still very dangerous,” Flowers said.
“This communicable disease is still in England in large numbers and although Croydon’s covid-19 infection rate may be reducing, this is about saving lives.
“Everyone must keep following the rules to the letter and not to their own interpretation of them.”
Public Health England has this week released figures, covering the period from March to mid-May, which showed that the death rate from covid-19 in London is three times greater than the rest of the country, with Croydon among the boroughs hardest hit.
“Croydon is a big borough with a big population, so everyone needs to play their part in social distancing, handwashing and other measures to protect themselves and those close to them,” Flowers said.
“As far as coronavirus goes, we’re far from being out of the woods yet. Everyone has done so well, but now is not the time to be complacent.”
The government’s gradual easing of lockdown has led to a partial lifting of restrictions as long as social distancing and hygiene measures continue to be observed.
Current government guidance in England from June 1 is:
- Stay at home as much as possible.
- Work from home if you can.
- Limit contact with other people.
- Keep your distance if you go out (two metres apart where possible).
- Wash your hands regularly.
- Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.
Flowers and her health director colleagues also want the government to delay further lifting of restrictions until there is greater clarity on infection rates, and there is a track and trace system which actually functions.
For government guidance on staying safe during covid-19, including on what to do if you have coronavirus symptoms, cleanliness, avoiding crowds, and home working, visit the gov.uk website.
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