Cllr. Chris Read, leader of Rotherham Council, has given an update on Covid-19 restrictions in Rotherham.
From Step 4, the Government removed things like legal limits on the numbers meeting indoors and outdoors, and there is no longer a legal requirement to wear face coverings in indoor settings or on public transport.
Cllr. Read said: “I know a lot of people are concerned about what that means for communities like Rotherham and my message today is to say that everyone needs to take precautions – it isn’t over yet I’m afraid.
“That means that, even though the national rules, the fines, will move away, we’ll be in a situation were people still need to wear face mask, still need to maintain some form of social distancing, still need to isolate if they test positive, and it means that you should still be taking those lateral flow tests regularly in order to keep other people safe around you.
“Even though the vaccination process in Rotherham has been a huge success, and we are ahead of many other parts of the country, unfortunately, case rates are rising. They are still rising across the country and we know that Rotherham tends to be a bit behind that curve in terms of when that affects our communities.
“We are starting to see some more people going into hospital and unfortunately of course, as the Prime Minister himself has said, we can expect, sadly, more people to die.
“So I’m afraid that, even though we want all those restrictions to go away, and we want life to be as normal as possible – me as much as everyone else – we do have to keep doing the responsible things to keep one another safe over the weeks to come until we really are all vaccinated, all out of this on the other side and all back to normal.”
Last week Rotherham Council said that the rate of COVID-19 was increasing rapidly in Rotherham with the doubling time now at seven to nine days. The rate was 218.2 per 100,000 and the majority of cases are in the 15- 35 age group in Rotherham, although there has been a rise in cases within older age groups.
Director of Public Health, Ben Anderson, said: ” We know that vaccines aren’t 100% effective and that there are still around 6,000 unvaccinated people aged over 50 in the Borough. Rising case rates will see some of these individuals affected.
“Overall, there are around 35,000 adults in Rotherham still to be vaccinated with one dose, which leaves a large pool of susceptible people for the virus to continue to circulate in, so we are not through this yet.
“Both the Hospital and our GPs are hard at work, but they are under significant pressure at the moment. More people catching COVID-19 will add to that pressure. Whilst those yet to be vaccinated tend to be younger there is still a risk of more severe disease and the concern of long-COVID so I want to encourage every adult who hasn’t already had their vaccination to get theirs as soon as possible.”