Covid-19 has once again taken a firm grip across our society. Community transmission of the virus is increasing. Hospital admissions are rising and modelling indicates that admissions will increase further in the coming weeks.
The clear advice from public health experts is that an intervention is now required.
Our people - individuals, families, communities and businesses - have been through so much during this pandemic. Our collective aim is to reduce pressure on our hospitals, while allowing our society and the economy to remain open as fully and safely as possible.
That means we all need to take action to prevent a worsening of the situation that would potentially require more severe measures.
We met again today to discuss further steps that are needed to help break the chain of transmission.
Please take up the vaccine, including the booster, when it is offered to you. The evidence on the benefits of vaccination is unequivocal. And the statistics are stark.
Unvaccinated adults aged under 50 are almost 11 times more likely to need hospitalisation from Covid-19. Unvaccinated individuals aged 50 and over are four times more likely to die from Covid-19 than those who are fully vaccinated.
Work from home
We are also strengthening the message that people should work from home where possible. More people working from home will help to reduce the risk of transmission both inside and outside the workplace.
We recognise that this may present challenges in some work areas and ask employees to work from home where they can, and advise employers to support this where possible.
Making safer choices
It is vital that every person makes safer choices that will protect you, your family, the wider community and the health service.
Every step counts. As well as taking up the vaccine and working from home where possible, we ask everyone to:
- Limit your social contacts - this will minimise opportunities for the virus to spread.
- Meet outdoors where you can - it's safer than meeting indoors.
- If meeting indoors, make sure the space is well ventilated - good ventilation is critical in reducing risk of transmission when indoors.
- Wear a face covering in crowded or indoor settings - face coverings remain a vital mitigation and it is critical that people continue to use them in all circumstances where they are required.
- Keep washing your hands or use a sanitiser.
We understand how difficult this situation is for everyone and we will be stepping up our public information campaign to encourage everyone to keep following the advice.
None of us wanted to be in this position, but this pandemic is unpredictable and it continues to pose a threat.
We have an opportunity to make a difference by working together to keep our society open and protect the health service.
Let's do everything we can to ensure we halt the spread of Covid as we approach Christmas.