I want to start today’s blog with a thank you, to all of our Bristol residents for your continued efforts to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and protect our communities in Bristol. Many of you have continued to wear your face covering on public transport and when shopping; kept washing your hands frequently; and balanced your own risks to protect yourself, our frontline workers, and your friends and family.
The virus is still circulating as we head into another tough winter for our NHS and social care keyworkers, and infection rates in Bristol remain high. With the new COVID-19 Omicron variant, first identified by scientists in South Africa, we are now fighting on another front.
In October, we took a united, joined up Bristol position, encouraging and expecting Bristolians to continue with the public health behaviours we have become so accustomed to over the last two years. And with national rules back in force today to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant and save lives, I want to emphasise the importance of these behaviours in keeping our lives open and full of activity and opportunity.
- If you are unwell, recover at home, and do not go into work or visit vulnerable friends and family members. Even if you have mild cold-like symptoms, this could be very serious for someone else, and you don’t know if you might also be carrying COVID-19.
- If you have symptoms of COVID-19, or test positive after taking a lateral flow (rapid) test, self-isolate at home and book a PCR test to confirm the result. Lateral flow tests should be taken before you undertake any potentially risky activity, such as attending a sports match at a stadium or visiting a vulnerable family member.
- Ventilation and fresh air are still as important as ever, and while I recognise it is more challenging in the colder weather, even opening your windows for 10-15 minutes at a time can have a real impact.
- Other countries of course have their own COVID-19 rules, including proof of a negative test and proof of vaccination. If you are planning to travel in the next few weeks and months, I urge to you plan ahead for all possibilities, including if you or someone in your party becomes unwell and you need to find somewhere to self-isolate, and further changes to national travel guidance.
- Vaccination is the most important thing we can do to protect ourselves and our children against ill health, and against new variants of the virus. So, if you’re already eligible for your COVID-19 booster or flu jab, do not delay in booking your appointment. The more people who have their vaccinations, the better our protection against ill health.
These precautionary measures will help us to keep life moving, to support our businesses to stay open and to keep life moving for everyone.
We are kind. We are safe. We are Bristol.