Restrictions have gone but Covid’s still here

By Dr Niruban Ratnarajah

24/2/22

As you will have heard on the news, the Government has lifted all Covid restrictions.

This means that it’s no longer a legal requirement to isolate if you test positive for Covid and that you are free to go about your daily business as you did before the first lockdown began in March 2020.

However, there is still a great deal of debate about whether this is the right course of action at this time.

It is undoubtedly good news that the number of people in hospital with Covid has fallen. This is due in large part to the success of the Covid vaccination programme - thank you to everyone who has been jabbed! But, Covid rates are still high, and it is vital that people continue to get vaccinated.

People are still becoming very unwell with Covid and, even though the symptoms for most are mild, I have seen both young and older people who are suffering the effects of long Covid.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you’ll be fine if you are young or fit – or if you’ve already had Covid. Being fully vaccinated – which means getting your first, second AND booster doses – offers the best protection against becoming seriously ill with Covid and passing it on to others.

The booster is particularly effective against the Omicron variant, and you’ll also need one if you want to travel abroad to many places.

Face coverings are still required, unless you are exempt, in health care settings such as GP surgeries, hospitals and pharmacies. And if you have certain symptoms, your GP may also ask you to take a Covid test so they can decide how best to treat you.

Even though it is no longer a legal requirement, wearing a face covering in crowded places is recommended to help to protect vulnerable people from Covid. As well as millions of older people, who are more at risk of suffering serious effects of viruses, there are also 500,000 people whose immune systems are compromised and are also at risk. Are you sitting next to one of them?

Ever since the days of Florence Nightingale, we know that germs are spread when people are in close proximity.

So, just like when you have the flu or a bad cold, I’d encourage people with Covid-19 symptoms to be considerate and take steps not to spread it to others. Nobody wants your germs, whatever they are.

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