The Isle of Wight NHS Trust has confirmed that COVID-19 measures and restrictions are to remain in place at St Mary’s Hospital – but NHS England suggests the recommendation of wearing a face mask could be lifted by the end of April.
Despite the Government announcing that England will fully return to Plan A from tomorrow (Thursday 27th January), infection prevention and control measures will remain in place at St Mary’s and across the Isle of Wight NHS Trust’s sites. This includes face masks, lateral flow tests and restricted visiting.
The Government has confirmed that face coverings are no longer required by law in any setting – the use of face coverings in a healthcare setting is recommended in guidance only. NHS England has said that the use of face masks for staff, patients and visitors will remain a recommendation over the winter period until at least March or April.
There is no legal requirement to carry out a lateral flow test and testing itself is starting to be wound down, with travellers no longer having to test on return to the UK from 11th February. PCR testing has also been massively scaled back and COVID passports are being scrapped.
It has been suggested by Boris Johnson that the requirement to self-isolate will be dropped in March, effectively bringing the pandemic to an end as the country learns to live with COVID. However, there has been no clear indication from the Isle of Wight NHS Trust as to when things will return to normal.
Steven Parker, Medical Director, has said:
“COVID-19 is still circulating in our community and remains a risk for vulnerable people, such as those in hospital and in our care.
“Wearing a face mask remains in place at St. Mary’s Hospital and at our community locations and we support the Public Health England recommendation to still wear a face covering in public places and crowded spaces.
“As COVID-19 restrictions change, we would like thank everyone who has come forward for a booster, to protect themselves, reduce transmission and save lives.”
The Trust has not commented on whether bouncers will remain in position at the entrances to the hospital.
Don’t miss another story! Get the Island’s latest news delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up to our daily newsletter here.