Public health officials in Liverpool are urging residents to keep following Covid-19 restrictions to get infection levels as low as possible before lockdown ends.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to unveil a roadmap towards the lifting of lockdown on 22 February, with the possibility that schools could reopen sometime in March, along with the gradual reintroduction of other freedoms.
The reduction in Liverpool’s infection rate has slowed over the last week, with analysis showing that men aged 40-59 are contracting the virus the most. It is thought they could be unknowingly spreading Covid-19 in their workplace or in their household.
People are being asked to do five things to help cut the spread of the virus to give the city the best chance of getting back to normal as quickly as possible.
1: Stay at home as much as possible – if you go out please keep at least two metres away from others at all times and wear a face covering in shops, on public transport and around other people
2: If you have Covid-19 or flu-like symptoms, book a test online at https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.
3: If you have to leave the house for work or education, get yourself tested every 5-7 days at a symptom-free test centre or through your employer
4: Take the Covid-19 vaccine if you are offered it to protect yourself, your loved ones and the rest of the city
5: If you need help because you are struggling, or because you have to self-isolate, visit www.liverpool.gov.uk/coronavirus – help is available
Director of Public Health, Matthew Ashton, said: “January was absolutely horrendous in terms of infection rates and the pressure on the NHS and social care system, and I am hopeful that we have now passed the worst of it.
“However, although infection rates have reduced a lot, in the last few days in Liverpool they have plateaued and we really need it to get a lot lower if we want to be in a good position when we get out of lockdown.
“The rollout of the vaccine is going really well, but the reality is that it will take many months for us to immunise a large proportion of the population. In the meantime, we have to continue to do all the things we have been doing such as social distancing, wearing face coverings and getting tested regularly if we are going out to work.
“We know from some analysis of the data that middle-aged men are driving the infection rate in some areas. That is why testing, and self-isolating if you test positive, are so important.
“If we give it a huge push over the next four weeks we will be in a much stronger position when the government decides to start to ease lockdown restrictions and that will give us more of the freedoms that we all crave.”
Cabinet member for Public Health, Councillor Paul Brant, said: “This last year has been difficult for everyone, and we knew it was going to be a tough winter.
“However, if we can all really make an extra effort in the next few weeks then it will pay dividends in the months ahead while we wait for the impact of the vaccine programme to really kick in.
“We really do appreciate how tough this is, but the fastest and easiest way out of this, is to slow transmission of the virus as much as we possibly can. Please follow the rules and ask for help if you need it.”