Council leader urges caution over lockdown easing
The leader of Barnet Council has called on people to be vigilant as the coronavirus lockdown restrictions are eased further.
With concerns mounting over the spread of a more transmissible variant of Covid-19 originally found in India, council leader Dan Thomas urged people to keep taking precautions to stop the virus from spreading,
He also called on residents to get vaccinated as soon as they can and undertake regular rapid testing for the virus.
The leader’s comments came as a further easing of lockdown restrictions on Monday saw indoor mixing and overnight stays in groups of up to six people or two households allowed, while hotels and indoor entertainment venues were able to reopen.
Cllr Thomas said: “As we are gradually returning to normal life and enjoying things that we have missed doing, we must remember that Covid-19 is still around. The spread of the variant that originated in India makes vigilance particularly important if we are to lift any more restrictions in the future.
“We need to be sensible and continue to observe the now familiar ‘hands, face, space, fresh air’. Wash your hands frequently, wear a face covering in places where it is required, keep a safe distance, especially from others that you are not in contact with regularly, and make sure that enclosed spaces are well ventilated.
“I also urge everyone to get vaccinated as soon as you can and to undertake regular rapid testing for the virus. We have very good access to vaccination locally including GP hubs, pharmacies and a mass vaccination centre at Saracens’ StoneX stadium. Doing so is our only long-term way out of the pandemic.”
The council leader said the new freedoms had been gained thanks to the “ongoing sacrifices that we have all made to prevent the spread of infection” and the “cautious approach to reopening”.
Stage three of the government’s roadmap from lockdown, which went ahead as planned on Monday, also saw hugging between friends and family allowed, while restaurants, cafes and pubs were able to serve customers indoors.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged people to treat the lifting of restrictions with “a heavy dose of caution” and to “take responsibility when enjoying new freedoms” to prevent the spread of the virus.
The coronavirus infection rate in Barnet was still low as of 12th May, at just 20 new cases of the virus per 100,000 people.