Covid-19 pandemic ‘not over yet’

wash handsCovid-19 hasn’t gone away and the pandemic is not over yet. Please continue to follow the hands, face, space, fresh air guidance to help keep West Sussex safe.

That’s the message from Public Health leaders in West Sussex following the Prime Minister’s announcement this week about plans to lift restrictions on 19 July when we move to step 4 of the government’s roadmap.

Alison Challenger, Director of Public Health for West Sussex, said: “Covid-19 hasn’t gone away just yet. Infection rates in West Sussex remain lower than in many parts of the country but have been rising steadily since mid-May in line with the national trend. At the end of June, we saw just under 1,200 new cases in the space of a week.

“At the same time, the vaccination programme is continuing at a tremendous rate, with more than 622,000 people in West Sussex having now received at least one dose. That’s around 83% of our population.

“I ask that everyone continues to play their part in protecting their friends, family, colleagues and communities in West Sussex over the next few weeks. People are reminded to follow the sensible hands, face, space and fresh air measures, booking and attending both your vaccination appointments as soon as possible, and getting tested regularly and isolating if you test positive.

“The coronavirus pandemic has had such a huge impact on our lives in so many ways that it’s understandable many of us will want to return to life without restrictions. Vaccinations are the key to bolstering our protection, reducing the severity of the virus and helping us to find a way of living with it.”

Councillor Bob Lanzer, West Sussex County Council cabinet lead for Public Health said: “The Prime Minister’s announcement gives us cautious hope that the restrictions on our lives will soon be lifted.

“He also made clear, however, that the pandemic is not yet over and that as we open up further there will be a greater emphasis on personal responsibility.

“This means that while the health protection measures will no longer be mandatory, the hands, face, space and fresh air guidance will still be sensible and proportionate measures that we can all follow to manage and help reduce the risk to ourselves and each other.

“Above all, please do make sure you book and attend both your vaccination appointments as soon as possible. It’s the best defence against the virus and the means by which we will be able to get back fully to doing the things we love.”

Find information on our website about vaccinations and how to book them.

Details of how you can get free Covid-19 testing kits are available on our website. They can be ordered to be delivered direct to your home or picked up from collection points across West Sussex.

Our website also contains details of help and support available to people who have been affected by Covid-19.

Confirmation of the lifting of restrictions is expected on 12 July, following a review of the latest data.