“Act as if you have the virus” say health chiefs

EVERYONE should act as if they had got the COVID-19 virus – to protect themselves, their families and their communities.
This is the advice from Cheshire West and Chester’s director of public health, Ian Ashworth, and the eight other health directors across Cheshire and Merseyside, in a new joint statement.
They say: “This weekend has seen our focus move to a new strain of coronavirus which is being transmitted at an even faster rate than the original COVID-19 disease, and we ask everyone to be extra careful over social distancing, social contacts and general hygiene during the festive period.
“It is important to remember that COVID-19 continues to be a potent threat in its original form and so this latest variant needs to be tackled in exactly the same way, with anyone who has travelled from a Tier 4 area being particularly vigilant to protect their loved ones.
“It is why we urge everyone to double down on what they have been doing so far to drive the infection rate down by:-
“Staying local and not travelling between tiers, following good hand hygiene at all times, wearing face coverings when required to do so, taking extra care over social distancing – staying at least 2 metres apart – keeping all social contact to a minimum and staying in well-ventilated places.
“We should all act as if we have got the virus to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities, particularly those who are most vulnerable, while doing our utmost not to place an already busy NHS under further strain.
“Anyone with symptoms should also book a test as soon as possible and follow the guidance around self-isolation until the result is known and thereafter if it comes back positive. If you have the opportunity of asymptomatic testing, people should also take up that offer.
“The virus will continue to mutate and Hands, Face, Space is proven to be the best defence at least until the population has been vaccinated.
“We know how difficult this is, especially at a time of the year when families traditionally come together to celebrate Christmas.
“We thank everyone who has been doing their bit for so long, and we know everyone desperately wishes we could see an end to the restrictions, but it’s more important than ever that we all put in that extra effort to keep our friends and families as safe as possible in the coming weeks.”
The statement is signed by Ian Ashworth – Cheshire West and Chester Council,  Thara Raj – Warrington Borough Council, Matthew Tyrer – Cheshire East Council,  Eileen O’Meara – Halton Council,  Sarah McNulty – Knowsley Council, Matthew Ashton – Liverpool City Council, Margaret Jones – Sefton Council, Susan Forster – St Helens Council, Julie Webster – Wirral Council.
For further information on government guidance around Covid-19 please visit: www.gov.uk/coronavirus

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