BLOG: ‘Reasons to be cheerful, but we must continue to follow the guidance’

Director of Public Health Matthew Ashton cautions that the easing of lockdown measures does not mean we can let our guard down.

After the hardest of hard winters, the dawn of spring means we are now starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel in relation to Covid-19 restrictions.

Changes being implemented from today (Monday 29 March) enable us to:

  • Gather outside, including private gardens, with up to six people or two households
  • Take part in outdoor sports such as football, golf and tennis

In addition, we no longer have to stay at home, but working from home is still advised wherever possible, and journeys should be minimised.

But just because we can, does not mean that we should.

The simple fact is that Covid has not gone away.

Staff inside the ICU at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital

Don’t get me wrong – we have made amazing progress in the last few months getting the number of cases down, and in Liverpool it currently stands at around 36 cases per 100,000 people. This compares to more than 1,200 per 100,000 in January.

But we got the level down to 14 cases per 100,000 last July – yet the virus still came roaring back in the autumn.

It is true that we are not in the same position as we were then – for a start, we have now vaccinated around half of the adult population.

But under 50s have still not been offered the jab, and we know that even for younger people, Covid is a serious disease which can land them in hospital, or lead to death.

And there is still the very real prospect of Long Covid to deal with, for many people who have had the virus.

And up to a third of people do not even know they have the virus, so can be passing it on without realising.

Vaccine Test Centre
Under 50s have not yet been offered the Covid-19 vaccine

So my message is that while it is great news that restrictions are starting to be lifted, and that there are definitely reasons to be cheerful, it is still really important that we continue to follow the guidance as much as possible.

That means continuing to wear face coverings on public transport and in enclosed spaces such as supermarkets.

It means sticking to the rule of six and two households when meeting outside.

It means staying two metres apart from people wherever possible.

It means getting tested regularly if you are going to work.

All of these measures give us the best possible chance of keeping case numbers as low as possible, easing the pressure on health services and ensuring that the timetable for restrictions to be lifted is not delayed.

Liverpool Waterfront