Lancashire health chief's 'Freedom Day' warning as Covid cases rise
Plea for public to maintain sensible precautions against virus
As many legal coronavirus restrictions lift across the country, Lancashire people are being urged to continue to look out for each other and take sensible steps to keep Lancashire safe.
With cases of Covid-19 still rising across Lancashire, senior figures leading the local response to the pandemic are urging the public to take personal responsibility around which measures to take.
Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, director of public health for Lancashire County Council, said: "Cases of Covid-19 are still high in Lancashire, and it is likely that infections with continue to rise with the further easing of restrictions. It is important that people use their personal judgement and take sensible steps to protect themselves and others if they think it is necessary.
"It is also important that we maintain the momentum with our excellent vaccination programme. More than 85 per cent of the adult population has been vaccinated in Lancashire, which is an incredible achievement. If you have not had your jabs yet or want to know where you can get one, please visit the Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria's website.
"While getting both of your jabs will significantly reduce your chances of getting seriously ill, it will not necessarily stop you from catching Covid-19. This is why regular testing using lateral flow devices – which are still free until at least the end of August – remains a crucial tool in controlling the spread of the virus.
"It is also so important that we must continue to look out for and support those who need it, as we have done throughout this immensely difficult period."
"We know that coronavirus is something we will all have to live with, and with legal restrictions lifting, it is now up to every one of us to use our personal judgement.
"While there may no longer be legal requirements to follow, we should still consider exercising caution in certain situations to mitigate the high number of cases we currently have in Lancashire and limit the spread of the virus within our community.
"For example, wearing a mask when using public transport or when in a crowded indoor space is still the right thing to do even if there if you are not legally required to do so.
"There are no longer any limits on social contact, which will bring joy to many families and friends, but you may feel more comfortable meeting outside if cases are high in your area.
"After everything we have been through these past 18 months, it feels good to be able to make these decisions – the kind we perhaps took for granted – by ourselves. Making a personal judgement also means taking personal responsibility to look out for each other by taking simple steps that we may not have to take, but can choose to take.
"After all Lancashire has been through it does feel good to get to this point, but we must remember that Covid-19 has not gone away – even if we do have the upper hand."
As we enter Step 4 of the government's government roadmap all legal limits on social contact have been lifted, and the legal requirements on wearing masks on in most places have been removed, except on some forms of public transport in some parts of the country.
New guidance published on Wednesday says the Government "expects and recommends" masks to be worn by workers and customers in crowded, enclosed spaces, such as public transport.