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COVID-19: rules change but remain cautious

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Message from Cllr Dan Thomas, Leader of Barnet Council

Message from the Leader: COVID-19 update

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has followed the rules since the start of the pandemic. Without the many sacrifices that we have all made, we would not have been able to regain many of our freedoms today. I also want to thank the thousands of Barnet residents who have had or are planning to have both doses of their vaccine as vaccination remains the strongest weapon we have in the fight against COVID-19.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 has not gone away and rates of the virus have now reached similar levels to those before the last lockdown. Although we expect that the vaccine has weakened the link between rates of the virus and serious illness or death from it, there are still some, such as children, who cannot be vaccinated or who remain vulnerable to the virus even when vaccinated. Our new freedoms therefore come with a responsibility to protect the more vulnerable and our essential and frontline workers who are being exposed to rising rates of the virus.

We should all be careful to limit close contact with those that we don’t live with, meet outdoors as much as possible, wash our hands regularly, let fresh air into our homes and continue to wear a face covering in crowded areas such as public transport. People should still work from home if they can and gradually return to workplaces. It is vital that all our businesses reopen fully but they should do so while following guidance on working safely to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Higher risk business settings may even want to use the NHS COVID pass as a condition of entry.

The requirement to self-isolate and get tested immediately if you have symptoms has not changed. This requirement is law and people must isolate following notification by NHS Test and Trace. From 16 August, if you have been fully vaccinated you will be exempt from the requirement to self-isolate if you are a contact of a positive case. You will instead be advised to take a PCR test as soon as possible. You will also be exempt from self-isolation from 16 August if you are under 18 and a contact of a positive case, although all positive cases will still have to self-isolate beyond 16 August.

As well as getting both doses of the vaccine as soon as you can, taking regular rapid tests is vital to make sure that we identify everyone who might be spreading the virus without any symptoms.

Following this guidance will help us keep our friends and family safe and control the spread of the virus. We all need to take this responsibility seriously as every small action now will have a big effect on our lives in the coming months.

For more info about what you can and can’t do from Monday 19 July, please see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-coronavirus-restrictions-what-you-can-and-cannot-do 

Hop on the COVID-19 vaccine bus and get your jab

COVID-19 cases are rising across Barnet and getting vaccinated is still the best way to keep yourself and your community safe.

Barnet Council and the NCL CCG invite everyone aged 18 and over to get their COVID-19 vaccine on a special vaccination bus which will make stops in Barnet throughout the summer.

A free shuttle bus is also operating between Oaklodge Medical Centre in Edgware and StoneX Stadium, taking people on a round trip to get their jab.

Details of where the vaccine bus will stop, as well as shuttle bus times here: https://www.barnet.gov.uk/vaccinebus

Anyone aged 18 or over can get the Pfizer vaccine by simply walking up to the bus and getting their jab.  You do not need an appointment, or an NHS number and second doses are also available if people have had their first jab at least 8 weeks earlier. Our vaccinators will be on board to answer any questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.