Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is recommending people continue to act with caution when the majority of COVID restrictions are lifted on Monday 19 July, with growing infection rates locally and nationally.
In line with government advice, the council is recommending people continue wearing face coverings in busy indoor spaces, continue getting tested if they do or don’t have coronavirus symptoms and continue getting vaccinated as soon as they can.
By wearing masks, we can protect ourselves but also those around us while we are carrying COVID but not showing symptoms. And we can do this even if we have had both vaccine jabs. Buses, trains, shops, supermarkets, GP surgeries and hospitals are all places where mask-wearing might make people feel safer.
The advice remains that everyone who doesn’t have COVID symptoms should undertake free, rapid lateral flow tests twice a week. These help confirm they are not among the people who carry COVID but don’t show the symptoms, which includes those who have been fully vaccinated, who can infect others.
Free lateral flow tests can be picked up at local chemists and libraries as well as Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre. You can also order online and have kits delivered to your home. Please keep testing twice a week – even if you have been vaccinated.
Anyone who does show the coronavirus symptoms of a new persistent cough, raised temperature or loss of taste or smell should take a rapid lateral flow test and follow up with a PCR test if the LFT test is positive. They should stay home and self-isolate until they have the PCR test.
Local PCR sites for people with symptoms are located at Southend Airport, Shoebury Park, Short Street Car Park and Elm Road Car Park. Please note the Elm Road PCR site in Leigh-on-Sea will close on Wednesday 21 July with plans to re-open it if needed. Updates will be available on our COVID portal.
Vaccination is still the safest and most effective way of avoiding COVID infection and potential serious illness. It also helps prevent you passing the virus on to someone else, although not 100%.
Anyone aged 18 or over can now book a vaccination appointment or go to one of Southend’s walk-in sites or vaccine centres. Plans are underway to set up more localised vaccine facilities in areas where the need is greatest. Full details will be available on the council’s COVID portal.
Safety at work
In addition to individuals continuing mask-wearing, testing and getting vaccinated, organisations and employers should continue to ensure workplaces are as safe as they can be with hand washing facilities and proper ventilation with external fresh air in place.
And, maintaining existing COVID-control measures in settings such as care homes could help to protect vulnerable people.
Krishna Ramkhelawon, Southend-on-Sea’s director of public health is urging everyone to remain cautious and act responsibly after restrictions end on Monday, to stop the virus spreading out of control in Southend.
Krishna said: “COVID-19 continues to be with us in Southend and that presence will continue after Monday 19 July but if we all continue to take the precautions that could protect ourselves and others, we can carefully continue down the path back to normality.”
Cllr Cheryl Nevin, cabinet member for adult social care and health integration, added: “As well as keeping up the basic good hygiene habits that we’ve been following for the past year, the two most important things we can do are to get vaccinated and take symptom-free COVID tests twice a week.
“Restrictions are being lifted but the pandemic is not over yet. Together, we must all play our part and help keep Southend safe.”