As you may have seen from the Prime Minister’s announcement today, we are at a crucial moment in the struggle against coronavirus. Cases in some parts of England have increased to the point that stricter measures have had to be asked of residents over most of the North West.

At the moment things are at a fork in the road – we can continue to control COVID-19 if we all do our bit or cases could continue to rise if we don’t. At some point in the future there may be no alternative but to reapply tighter controls over more areas.

The same is true in Havering. Look at the blue line on the graph below: that’s us. That’s real people catching COVID-19. We’re a long way from the rates of new cases being reported in Leicester or Blackburn or Greater Manchester. But the number of new cases locally is increasing here too.

We need to keep that blue line as low as possible, but in the last few weeks it’s started to creep upwards. The purple line is Rochdale, where restrictions have just been increased. We’re not there yet, but if that blue line continues to creep up, we will be.

Your action, for yourselves, your family, and those in your community, will keep that blue line low. Wear a mask in public, stick to social distancing guidelines, and be sensible and considerate in what you do and how you do it. Not doing so and then catching COVID-19 could be more dangerous than you think. 

If you think you have symptoms, isolate immediately and get yourself tested – a mobile testing unit visits the Town Hall regularly and will be operating in Barking and Dagenham or Redbridge when it’s not in Havering.

If you test positive you now need to isolate for 10 days. Don’t delay – testing is the essential first step you need to take. And you must share information about the people you have been in close contact with, with NHS Test and Trace and they will let them know that they must isolate so as not to spread the infection further. 

Playing your part will keep the borough out of lockdown – and protect vulnerable people from serious harm.

So please try and look after yourself, stay healthy and think about the consequences of not following the rules around staying safe.

Do your bit to protect yourself and everyone else, and we will get us out of this quicker than if we don’t act now.

Mark Ansell,

Director of Public Health

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