“COVID-19 hasn’t gone away and we all need to do our bit to live safely.”
That’s the message from Katie Spence, the deputy director at the UK Health Security Agency for the West Midlands, the government body responsible for UK-wide public health protection.
It comes as the number of cases in the region have risen months after all restrictions including self-isolation were lifted.
Ms Spence said: “We are fortunate that so far the rise in cases has not led to a significant increase in hospital admissions or deaths and this is down to the efficacy of the vaccine and the incredible efforts of people across the country getting vaccinated.
“We’ve learned so much in the last two years but as we move to living with Covid on a long-term basis, every one of us needs to remain vigilant, take precautions, and ensure that we’re up to date with our Covid-19 vaccinations.
“We need to continue to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe and vaccination is the best form of defence we have. It’s never too late to get vaccinated.
“As we now look forward to life without restrictions and head into the social summer holiday period, we must keep in mind that the virus has not gone away.”
She urged anyone who has respiratory symptoms or a fever to stay at home and limit contact with others to reduce the risk of passing the virus on to others.
Health bosses say face coverings and hand washing still remain important in reducing transmission and urged residents to consider wearing a face covering in crowded, enclosed spaces and washing hands thoroughly and often, especially before and after getting on public transport or getting in from work, shops or the pub.
Ms Spence added: “Meeting others outside is much safer than indoors as the fresh air helps to blow the Covid-19 particles away.
“So, make the most of the warm weather over the summer and meet family and friends outside.
“Or if you meet indoors, let the fresh air in by opening doors and windows.
“Let’s enjoy the summer and our regained freedoms but keep in mind that Covid-19 hasn’t gone away and we all need to do our bit to live safely.”