Statement from LA7 Directors of Public Health following announcement of Plan B measures
Our communities are once again being asked to step up to help protect each other and the NHS as restrictions are reintroduced in England.
The Government has announced it will implement its Plan B winter response, based on the evidence and knowledge we currently have of the Omicron variant of concern.
Given the early indication of its rapid rate of growth, there is every chance it will become the dominant strain of the virus in all corners of the country.
We always knew there was a risk of new variants emerging which would require a change in direction to keep people safe, and we have no doubt that people right across our region will recognise the need to take Omicron seriously.
From Friday (10 December), face coverings will be required in most indoor public settings, unless you are exempt. Office workers who can work from home should do so from Monday (13 December), and from next Wednesday (15 December), you will be required to show proof of full vaccination status, or a negative test in the last 48 hours, to enter certain venues such as nightclubs or major sporting events.
"We ask that everyone plays their part"
Beyond that, we should all double down on our efforts to implement the measures that have already proven themselves to be effective at controlling all variants of this virus. This means taking care to give each other space, washing hands regularly, keeping indoor spaces ventilated, getting tested and self-isolating where required.
To anyone who is yet to be vaccinated, or is overdue a second or third/booster dose, we would urge you to make sure you are fully protected at the earliest opportunity. The three approved vaccines - Moderna, Astra Zeneca, and Pfizer - are proven to offer high levels of protection, and there are good reasons to believe that a full course of vaccine treatment will protect against severe disease and death with Omicron as well. If you have become eligible for a booster vaccination as part of the most recent announcement, you will be contacted by the NHS and advised when to come forward.
Since the start of the pandemic our communities have rallied round one another and worked tirelessly to keep people safe. Once more we ask that everyone plays their part and together we will overcome this latest challenge.
Wendy Burke, Director of Public Health, North Tyneside
Amanda Healy, Director Public Health, County Durham
Alice Wiseman, Director of Public Health, Gateshead
Eugene Milne, Director of Public Health, Newcastle
Liz Morgan, Director of Public Health, Northumberland
Tom Hall, Director of Public Health, South Tyneside
Gerry Taylor, Director of Public Health, Sunderland