Health chief urges caution as Covid restrictions ease in Derbyshire despite 'significant outbreak'

Derbyshire public health officials are urging caution as coronavirus restrictions ease today with cases in parts of the county remaining among the highest in the UK.

Monday, 17th May 2021, 1:34 pm

The Prime Minister announced that the next stage of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown can go ahead – despite concern about new variants of the virus.

And with infection rates in areas of the county remaining high, Derbyshire’s director of public health Dean Wallace is urging people to remain on their guard and enjoy their new freedoms safely.

His warning comes after two cases in the Long Eaton community were confirmed as ‘variants of concern’ – a new Indian variant and the South African variant that spread more easily.

Dean Wallace, Derbyshire public health director.
Dean Wallace, Derbyshire public health director.

It follows an outbreak of coronavirus at Wilsthorpe Academy in Long Eaton which resulted in around 170 staff and pupils testing positive – although none of these cases have so far been found to be variants of concern.

Mr Wallace, who is leading the county’s response to the pandemic, said: “This significant outbreak is a timely reminder that Covid-19 hasn’t gone away and we still need to take precautions to protect those we love from this illness – especially those not yet vaccinated.

“I know people will be looking forward to more freedom, but I would ask everyone across Derbyshire to take a sensible approach and think carefully about the risks to their loved ones before making any decisions about mixing indoors.”

From today the lifting of restrictions means:

*Groups of up to six people or two households can mix indoors and social contact, such as hugging, is allowed;

*Overnight stays between two households are allowed;

*Groups of up to 30 people can meet outdoors;

*Pubs and cafes can serve customers indoors;

*Cinemas, museums and children’s play areas can open up;

*Some larger events including conferences, theatre performances, concerts and sports events can take place with limits on capacity.

Mr Wallace added: “While we’re all allowed to visit our relatives indoors I’d urge everyone throughout Derbyshire to use their judgement to keep everyone safe.

“I cannot stress enough the importance of getting a test if you have symptoms as well as regular twice-weekly testing if you have no symptoms.”