Council Leader urges caution to stem the spread of COVID-19

24 February 2022

On the day that the legal measures put in place to protect us from the spread of COVID-19 come to an end, Richmond Council Leader encourages residents to be cautious.

Earlier this week, the Government announced changes to legislation and policy outlining how we will 'live with COVID' in the future. The compulsory measures currently in place to tackle COVID-19 particularly around testing and self-isolation will finish.

This does not mean that the pandemic is over, or COVID-19 has gone away, more that guidance has now shifted away from legally enforceable requirements in favour of encouraging personal responsibility.

 Cllr Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council, said:

"I know that many residents are concerned that the withdrawal of measures, and the signalled move away from testing and self-isolating, is too much, too soon. With case numbers still relatively high in the borough I share that concern. In particular, the plan to move away from universal free testing and withdrawal of immediate financial support for those self-isolating raises concerns that we may see cases begin to rise again. However, this is the stated will of the Government and we must abide by this change of policy.

"Nevertheless, I would encourage people to be cautious over coming months and not be lulled into a false sense of security.

"We need to remember that COVID-19 spreads very easily. And there are some people who are more likely to be seriously ill if they were to catch the virus.  We have already seen that the virus mutates easily; keeping cases down gives it less opportunity to change again.

"Therefore, it's vital that people continue to get vaccinated, this is our best line of defence against the virus. And though other preventative measures are no longer mandatory, people may still wish to consider small interventions such as wearing masks in shops, supermarkets and when travelling on public transport. I certainly will continue wearing a face covering when shopping and when travelling around.

"I appreciate it's confusing, but please remember that the Government has not scrapped the guidance about the benefits of face coverings or ventilation. This advice is still vitally important and incumbent on us all to do our bit."

More information about the latest guidance.

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Up to: February 2022

Updated: 1 March 2022

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