Health chiefs warn against 'Covid complacency' as Northamptonshire gets set for Bank Holiday scorcher
Covid cases tumble below national average for first time in ages, but Indian variant still a worry
Health chiefs are warning against Covid complacency as Bank Holiday and half-term weather promises to be a scorcher.
And they say strict self-isolation is vital to stop cases of Indian variant spreading through Northamptonshire as it has in other areas.
The county's infection rate is finally below the national average for the first time since the middle of last year.
But Public Health England revealed last night that at least 80 cases of the highly-transmissable B.1.617.2 strain have been identified here.
Secondary school-age children are seeing the highest number of positive tests among all age groups and, nationally, those who have yet to be vaccinated are being hardest hit in areas such as nearby Bedford.
Temperatures are set to hit the early-20s with tons of sun on Sunday and Monday on only the second weekend following the latest relaxation of rules on the lockdown roadmap.
Northamptonshire's Public Health Director, Lucy Wightman, said: “Restrictions have eased but we must not be lured into a false sense of security.
"Caution is still required and we have to avoid being Covid complacent.
"Please follow all existing guidance, test twice weekly and take up the offer of both doses of the vaccine — not one but both doses of the COVID-19 jab are vital in protecting fully against the Indian variant.
"Getting vaccinated is the single most important thing we can do to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities against coronavirus, so it’s vital that everyone who is eligible should come forward for both doses as soon as they are invited.
“Also, I cannot stress enough the importance of self-isolation in stopping the coronavirus and its variants in their track.
"Swift and strict isolation inhibits transmission of the virus in all its forms and self-isolating when we could be infectious is the only way we will break the chains of transmission.”
PHE revealed 45 Indian variant cases in South Northamptonshire, 23 in East Northants and nine in Northampton with five or fewer in Kettering, Corby and Daventry areas.
The true figure is likely to be much higher, however, as not all positive tests are sent of processing to see if they are a variant — and it can take more week to get results from those that are.
■ Anyone with Covid-19 symptoms — a new continuous cough, loss of or change in sense of taste or a high temperature should self-isolate immediately and book a test online HERE, via the Test and Trace app or by calling 119
■ All those aged 32 or over are eligible for a Covid-19 vaccination. Click HERE to book or contact your GP