The infection rate in our district remains at a very low level. But the detection of a variant of concern in the north of the county, and in other parts of the country, is a reminder we must still be cautious.
You can help keep the virus under control by:
- Meeting outside where it is safer
- Opening windows and doors to let fresh air in if you do meet inside (from 17 May see items below)
- Taking the vaccine when you are offered it and encouraging others to do so as well
- Minimising how many people you are in close contact with and for how long
- Getting a rapid (lateral flow) test twice a week if you do not have symptoms
- Self-isolating straight away if you do develop symptoms and getting a PCR test
- Washing your hands and cleaning surfaces regularly to remove virus particles
You can see the latest infection rate figures on the Worcestershire coronavirus dashboard.
Indoor mixing allowed from Monday
From Monday, 17 May the next stage of lockdown easing restrictions will begin.
This will include being able to meet indoors in groups of up to 6 people or two households.
Indoor hospitality will also reopen as well as other forms of indoor entertainment.
Hugging loved ones
1 in 3 people with Covid-19 do not realise they have it and could spread the virus without knowing. It is also still possible to catch and pass the virus on if you have been vaccinated.
That is why care must be taken as we start to mix indoors with people again.
New guidance has been issued on meeting friends and family safely under Step 3 changes. This includes advice on hugging.
Social distancing rules continue to apply in businesses, workplaces and public venues.
The importance of letting fresh air in
Ventilation will be really important once we start meeting friends and family indoors again.
Coronavirus is spread through the air by droplets and smaller particles (known as aerosols) that are exhaled from the nose and mouth of an infected person as they breathe, speak or cough. They behave in a similar way to smoke but are invisible. The majority of virus transmissions happen indoors. Being indoors, with no fresh air, the particles can remain suspended in the air for hours and build up over time.
The longer people spend in the same room as these particles, the more likely they are to become infected.
Letting fresh air into a room can reduce your risk of infection from particles by over 70%.
Just opening your windows for 10 to 15 minutes regularly throughout the day, or a small amount continuously, can help protect you and the people you are meeting indoors.
Join the millions already vaccinated
So far 79,977 people in our district have had at least their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. If you are aged 38 or over you can now book your Covid-19 vaccine.
Vaccines are the way out of this pandemic and the best way to protect people from coronavirus. By coming forward for the vaccine when it is your turn, you are not only helping to save lives, but speeding up our return to a more normal way of life.
The Prime Minister announced tonight the Government was accelerating remaining second doses to the over 50s and those clinically vulnerable so they are just eight weeks after the first dose. This is in response to concerns about the spread of Covid-19 variants.
If you are in this group the NHS will be in touch with you.
Changes for renters to be aware of
From 1 June notice periods for renters will be reduced to four months from the current six months, which was introduced as a temporary measure at the start of lockdown.
From 1 October notice periods will return to what they were pre-pandemic, as long as the lockdown easing roadmap is still on track.
The ban on bailiff enforced evictions ends on 31 May.
If you are struggling with your housing payments then please seek help.
South Worcestershire Citizens Advice can offer advice and support. Call the adviceline on 0808 278 7891, Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm.
New debt support schemes
The Government has introduced Breathing Space and Mental Health Crisis Debt Respite schemes to help people struggling with problem debt. Both schemes create a temporary period where enforcement action to reclaim money owed cannot be taken and interest is frozen to help people get their finances under control
If you are struggling with debt then seek help. More information is available on our money advice page.