‘We must stick within the limits’: Havering Council’s health chief on risk of returning to lockdown

Havering Council's director of public health Dr Mark Ansell. Picture: Havering Council

Havering Council's director of public health Dr Mark Ansell. Picture: Havering Council - Credit: Havering Council

Havering Council’s health chief has called on the borough’s residents to continue following social distancing rules - or risk another lockdown.

Dr Mark Ansell, director of public health, warned people of the consequences if the coronavirus starts spreading again now that some measures have been eased.

He said: “If things start going the wrong way, the government is clear that controls will be reintroduced – maybe not nationally – but enough to bring the disease under control.

“While we set off on the road to recovery, it’s imperative to remember that coronavirus is still with us.

“Although the number of cases has gone down, people are still being infected and R (the rate of infection) is only just below 1.”

With non-essential shops set to open next week and some pupils returning to school, Dr Ansell people not to become complacent and to abide by government guidelines.

“You will all be aware that lockdown is being slowly relaxed,” he said.

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“You will be looking forward to doing things that haven’t been possible for many weeks - like seeing family and friends or maybe watching football on TV.

“As individuals, we must stick within the limits, no matter how frustrating this may be.

“These will vary from individual to individual depending on how vulnerable we are and will likely change over time to reflect new evidence and how much disease is in circulation. “

He urged people to continue to wash their hands thoroughly and to wear a face covering if using public transport, and if socialising, to do so in the open air in groups of no more than six.

Dr Ansell also reiterated the importance of self-isolating immediately and requesting a coronavirus test if people develop symptoms or are contacted by NHS Test and Trace.

He added: “In addition to doing everything we can to prevent an outbreak, the council is developing plans and the capacity to respond effectively to a local outbreak and bring it quickly under control.

“To help you plan, we will keep you informed about levels of disease in the borough and what we’re doing to control infection.

“We have shown great discipline to get through the first wave of Covid-19 and must continue to do so to protect ourselves and our loved ones from harm and to help us stay out of lockdown.”

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