Council Leader urges people to keep up effort to tackle COVID-19

20 January 2022

Richmond Council Leader is urging Richmond residents to keep up efforts to stop Coronavirus spreading as the government announces the lifting of Plan B restrictions from next week (27 January).

Cllr Gareth Roberts says though COVID-19 rates in Richmond upon Thames have fallen over the last week, they still remain high, and we should all consider keeping up measures such as mask wearing indoors after they are no longer mandatory.

He said:

“It is really good news that the number of cases has fallen nationally, and also in Richmond, from the peak of 1,786 per 100,000 in a week to our current figure which is around 916. But we must remember that this case rate is still incredibly high.

“High cases matter because although some people might experience this as a fairly mild disease, many people won’t.

“Yes, the number of people being hospitalised isn’t as high, but there are many people who have still had a nasty illness. There is strong evidence that COVID-19 can cause an illness which lasts for many months in some people.

“COVID-19 is a highly infectious disease and so many people are having to take time not just off work but also out of their usual life by self-isolating, even if they have milder symptoms. Although the policy change means that some people can leave self-isolation early, many people are finding that they are still infectious (LFT-positive) and are having to remain self-isolated for 10 days.

“Vaccination has also been key to reducing the spread but most importantly reducing the proportion of people who are now dying from COVID-19, which is excellent news; but many in the borough are still to have the jab.

“So, even though Plan B is ending, we still need to be doing what we can to reduce the impact of this highly infectious disease. Many residents have expressed their concern regarding the ending of wearing of face coverings in indoor settings and on public transport. I share that concern. I would remind them that while the requirement to wear masks and face coverings may have been removed there is nothing to stop residents from continuing to wear them if they so choose. Certainly, I will continue to wear a mask on public transport and in shops and supermarkets until such time as numbers fall substantially.”

Timetable for changes

From 19 January:

  • The Government advice to work from home if possible is lifted. (Staff should await guidance from their employers)

From 20 January:

  • Face coverings will no longer be advised for staff and pupils in secondary school and college classrooms

From 27 January:

  • Face coverings will no longer be advised for staff and pupils in communal areas of secondary schools, nor for staff in communal areas of primaries
  • There will no longer be a legal requirement to wear a face covering in any setting. However, the government suggests you continue to wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you may come into contact with other people you do not normally meet.
  • Venues and events will no longer be required by law to check visitors’ NHS COVID Pass. The pass can still be used on a voluntary basis.

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Up to: January 2022

Updated: 26 January 2022

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