Throughout the pandemic, asking close contacts of people with Covid-19 to self-isolate has played a critical role in helping us get this virus under control. It hasn’t been easy, but everyone who has done this has helped reduce the spread of the virus. We have now reached another milestone this week.
Thanks to the remarkable success of our vaccine programme, with over 75% of people having received both doses of the vaccine, from Monday people who are doubled-jabbed or aged under 18 were no longer legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive Covid-19 case.
Instead, people will be advised to take a PCR test as soon as possible to check if they have the virus.
Close contacts will not be required to self-isolate while waiting for the results of their tests but are advised to consider other precautions such as wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces, and limit contact with other people, especially with anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable.
Anyone who tests positive following a PCR test will still be legally required to self-isolate, irrespective of their vaccination status or age.
The vaccine has always been our route out of this pandemic, and it is encouraging to read the latest data from Public Health England and Cambridge University which shows that around 60,000 deaths, 22 million infections and 67,000 hospitalisations have been prevented by the vaccines.
This is why I continue to urge everyone here in Swindon who has not yet had the jab to take advantage of the Pfizer walk-in clinics being hosted by Swindon Borough Council at Sanford House every Tuesday in August and September.
The clinic will be open to anyone aged over 18 for their first or second dose of the Pfizer vaccine and there is no need to book.
The next clinics will be held on the 24th August (10am to 6pm), 31st August (8am to 4pm), 7th September (10am to 6pm), 14th September (8am to 4pm), and 21st September (10am to 6pm).
With Government restrictions having eased, the thought of going out and about again might be causing anxious feelings for many, particularly for those living with dementia, or caring for someone who is.
Many may have lost confidence or skills due to lockdowns and lack of social contact. This means the easing of restrictions has caused further confusion, not recognising familiar people or favourite places, or becoming disorientated by distancing measures and new layouts.
You can find advice about supporting someone with dementia with shopping and visiting public places during coronavirus here: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/coronavirus/shopping-visiting-public-places?fbclid=IwAR0iGZ8m_YN71kqIyEftvI3WPMXwxjxF0kJG7XJtzbVndNjAxLKjlctZCRc.
In positive news for our town, the Department for Transport announced last week that Swindon Borough Council was selected to receive a grant of £500,000 to address maintenance backlogs and upgrade technology at traffic signal sites on our road networks, to help reduce congestion and improve conditions for road users.
I look forward to working with the Borough Council and individual councillors in the coming weeks to help ensure that this investment is spent upgrading our road network to ensure it is fit for the future.