Councillor Karl Love, the Cabinet member responsible for public health, has said that the news of a 4-week delay to unlocking the country from coronavirus restrictions is hugely disappointing and a bitter blow for local business and the Island’s hospitality sector in particular.
However, Cllr Love has said it is crucial everyone sticks to the good behaviours learnt over the past year to kick the virus into touch and keep the Island safe.
As previously reported by Island Echo, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pushed back Step 4 of the lifting of restrictions due to the rise in the Delta variant. That’s despite the success of the vaccination programme which has seen over 80% of Islanders vaccinated to date.
Speaking this week, Councillor Love has said:
“I know everyone is feeling extremely disappointed right now but I am so proud of how Islanders have responded to the pandemic so far. This setback will not faze us.
“Over the past 15 months, the Island has pulled together and shown true community spirit. We must all keep on to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our Island.
“For our visitors, please make sure you pack face coverings, hand sanitiser and extra medication. You should also be testing yourself twice a week to help ensure you do not bring the virus to the Island.”
This week’s pushback means that limits remain on groups of people meeting, with groups of up to 30 allowed to meet outdoors and up to 6 people or 2 households allowed indoors. But the 30-person cap for wedding ceremonies and receptions, as well as wakes, will be lifted from 21st June.
Even though the majority of Islanders have now been vaccinated and cases are low, as are hospitalisations and deaths, the Council is still heavily pushing locals and tourists alike to take lateral flow tests.
Simon Bryant, the council’s director of public health, has said:
“We can’t afford for cases to increase. That’s why, even when everyone wants to get back to normal, it’s more important than ever that we remember hands, face, space, fresh air.
“Running alongside these daily actions we need to get regular LFT tests when we don’t have symptoms, self-isolate and get tested immediately when we do, and take up the vaccine when it’s offered.
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“Every single act of care and caution keeps the virus on the back foot and every time someone does those simple basic things they are playing their part in countering COVID. Please keep it up.”