Even if Euro 2020 is not your thing, at least you can see friends and family .. but do it SAFELY

Football fever might be gripping the nation but falling temperatures increasing temptation to be indoors

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 11:43 am

Football fever is fraying the nation's nerves once again. If it's not for you, I hope you are at least revelling in the simple freedoms of seeing friends and family.

Between the temperature drop outdoors and Euro 2020 on the TV, the temptation to meet inside at the moment is particularly strong. Please remember that just because we can mix indoors, it certainly doesn’t mean we should.

As you know by now, Covid-19 spreads much more easily indoors and the Delta variant, which is up to 60 percent more transmissible than the original virus, is rapidly circulating in Northamptonshire.

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It is far safer to meet people outdoors where any viral particles can blow away. If, however, you decide that indoor mixing is a must, then make sure you strictly stick to the rules:

You are permitted to meet up indoors with friends and family you do not live with, either in a group of up to six from any number of households — children of all ages count towards the limit of six — or in a group of any size from up to two households. Each household can include an existing support bubble, if eligible.

If you are meeting friends and family, you can also make a personal choice on whether to keep your distance from them, but you should still be very cautious, especially if you choose to hug.

My advice generally is to act with caution, especially when mixing with those who have not yet had both doses of the vaccine. I’m personally very concerned that people are beginning to think that everything is now OK, that we have beaten the coronavirus and it’s all behind us.

Public Health Director, Lucy Wightman

A bit like the football, they think it’s all over ... but it’s not yet!

Behaving in a Covid safe manner and getting both doses of the vaccine are the most important things we can all do to continue to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities against the virus.

Everyone in Northamptonshire aged 18 and over is now eligible to receive their Covid-19 vaccination and it’s absolutely vital that we all come forward for both doses.

I know there is some reluctance amongst parts of the population to accept the vaccine and some even believe it could either kill or harm them in some way.

England fans in Northampton staying Covid safe in a group of five during Three Lions' 1-0 win over the Czech Republic

As Public Health professionals we know that these claims are not just false – they are dangerous.

With the Delta variant we are now seeing the majority of hospitalizations and some deaths occurring among the unvaccinated. In addition, those who choose not to participate in vaccination efforts don’t just place themselves at risk of severe illness.

It is a fact that every single person who is infected gives the virus an opportunity to mutate. In unvaccinated individuals, the virus remains active, mutates and potentially becomes more lethal for everyone – including those already vaccinated.

Covid-19 variants of concern have already emerged with greater transmissibility, enhanced severity and varying ability to evade vaccine-induced immunity, so we need to do everything within our power as citizens of our county, our country and the world, to stop this from happening.

Now that the Covid-19 vaccination programme has been extended to everyone aged 18 and over, further opportunities are being offered for people to get the jab at a time and place that’s convenient for them.

Drop-in vaccine sessions for first doses are now running seven evenings a week at the Northamptonshire Vaccination Centre in Moulton Park up until July 18. No appointment is necessary, and you just need to bring your NHS number.

And, as part of a ‘Big Weekend’ of increased national vaccination activity, the Vaccination Centre is operating extended hours drop-ins from 5.30-9.30pm this Friday to Sunday, with further drop-ins and extended hours being planned at selected other vaccination sites throughout the county. More details of what’s happening will be announced soon.

To protect yourself and your family, friends and colleagues you MUST also still follow any national or local restrictions and:

■ Practise social distancing

■ Wear a face mask

■ Wash your hands or sanitise regularly

■ Open windows to let in fresh air

■ follow all current government guidance

■ Get tested twice weekly

We have come so far, and we are doing so well but if we relax too much, then we will be in danger of undoing all the good work we have done.

The virus is continuing to mutate, and we are still fighting against an enemy that is constantly changing and moving. The more people who prevent the spread with Covid-safe behaviours and the more we get vaccinated, the more we have a chance of getting on top of this for good.

Let’s make sure football is the only thing coming home this summer and reach our goal of getting as many people vaccinated as possible.