We'll get through winter and look forward to a better 2021

Director of public health Dr Mark Ansell.

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

Happy Christmas!

I wish it could be a happier one but unfortunately Covid-19 continues to spread rapidly in Havering and we now also have a more infectious variant of the disease to combat.

Sadly, over 400 deaths from Covid-19 have been recorded in the borough since March.

Our local hospitals are at, and above, capacity meaning the cancellation of many non-urgent hospital operations. Havering Council has seen a significant increase in death registrations.

That's why we are now living under Tier 4 restrictions.

The government’s message is only travel if you must, stay local and reduce the number of journeys you make.

On a happier note, the Covid-19 vaccination programme for those aged over 80 in our borough is now well under way and our local testing capacity, both for those with coronavirus symptoms and those without, is being rapidly expanded. However, vaccination will not help us cope with the current wave.

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For the time being we must all comply with the Tier 4 restrictions.

Please don't meet up with anyone indoors who does not live in your household and instead consider keeping in touch with loved ones by phone or video call.

I know it's tough after nine months but please keep doing your bit to help reduce the spread of Covid-19. Earlier this year we all worked together to stay at home, support the NHS and save lives. We now need to do that again.

Keep asking yourself "Am I absolutely certain that I'm not carrying the Covid-19 virus?" At this time it’s perhaps best to assume that everyone may be an asymptomatic case. Follow the government's advice in every respect including the basic rules of: wash your hands, wear a face covering whenever it is required or appropriate, and keep your space from people who don't live with you. Fresh air can reduce the spread of the virus. If you are spending lots of time indoors, remember to open windows and let fresh air in.

We can and will have large Christmas and New Year celebrations again, just not this year.

Together we will get through the winter, benefit from widespread vaccination, and look forward to a better 2021.

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