Omicron case confirmed in Southend with three others highly probable

Southend Council is urging residents to follow the measures to help reduce transmission and slow the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

The national announcement comes as one highly probable case of Omicron in the borough has now been confirmed. There are now three further linked ‘highly probable’ cases in the borough which are awaiting laboratory testing.

The following Plan B measures are being introduced:

  • From Friday December 10, face coverings will become compulsory in most public indoor venues, such as cinemas, theatres and places of worship. There will be exemptions in venues where it is not practical to wear one, such as when you are eating, drinking or exercising. For that reason, face masks will not be required in hospitality settings
  • From Monday December 13, those who can, will be advised to work from home.
  • From Wednesday December 15, and subject to parliamentary approval, the NHS COVID Pass on the NHS App will become mandatory for entry into nightclubs and settings where large crowds gather – including unseated indoor events with 500 or more attendees, unseated outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees and any event with 10,000 or more attendees.

A full list of guidance on the government changes will be available on the Government website in the coming days.

The regulations are set to expire six weeks after implementation, with a review after three weeks.

Krishna Ramkhelawon, the council’s director of public health, says: “I urge the people of Southend to follow the government’s Plan B measures to help reduce transmission and slow the spread of the Omicron variant.

“Testing will also be a vital tool in controlling the spread and everyone should test using a lateral flow device, particularly before entering a high-risk setting involving people you wouldn’t normally come into contact with, or when visiting a vulnerable person. Lateral flow devices remain free of charge and can be collected from pharmacies across the borough.”

Cllr Cheryl Nevin, cabinet member for adult social care and health integration, added: “We must not let our guard slip. Residents need to follow the latest government measures and take responsibility for wearing face coverings, hand washing, sanitising and ventilating if meeting indoors. I also encourage all those eligible to get their boosters when called and test regularly.”

The current COVID-19 infection rate in Southend has risen from 562.4 per 100,000 the previous week to 756.7 per 100,000 and is rising sharply especially amongst families with children.

Early analysis suggests cases could be doubling at a rate of 2.5. to 3 days. As seen in previous waves, a swift rise in cases can lead to a rapid rise in hospitalisations, which will quickly lead to pressure on the NHS.

Visit the council’s Coronavirus advice and support pages for more information on vaccination, testing and protecting yourself and others.

Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]