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Essex residents are being urged to continue following social distancing guidelines in order to reduce the chance of catching or spreading COVID-19, particularly as shops and other services start to re-open across the county.
By keeping a minimum distance of two metres between yourself and another person, the risk of catching COVID-19 is greatly reduced – even if the other person is showing symptoms of the virus.
Provided you have not been within two metres of someone who is being investigated as a case, the risk is also so low that the NHS Track and Trace service – set-up to identify people that may have come into contact with someone showing symptoms – will not regard you as a contact and you will not be required to self-isolate.
If an individual has been in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 and they haven’t adhered to social distancing measures, they will have to self-isolate for 14 days. It’s therefore in everyone’s best interest to maintain social distancing as much as possible.
Dr Mike Gogarty, Essex County Council’s Director of Public Health, said:
“It is absolutely crucial that everyone continues to follow appropriate social distancing guidelines and that we maintain the progress we have made so far in terms of ensuring local NHS services can cope with the number of COVID-19 cases.
“As shops and other attractions start to re-open, it might feel like the threat of COVID-19 is lessening and that we don’t need to follow Government advice as strictly. However, this is not the case.
“Social distancing is in place for a reason and that is to protect you. I would like to thank those that have and continue to follow the guidelines – we all have a responsibility to stay alert.”
Social distancing requires people to maintain at least a two-metre space between them and anyone that they do not live with.
It also means residents should not gather outdoors in groups of more than six people that they do not live with; they should not visit family or friends inside their home or any other indoor place, and they should not stay away from their own home overnight, except in exceptional circumstances.
The Government has announced several key milestones over the coming weeks as part of its roadmap to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, but these will only be possible if people continue to socially distance.
Social distancing is a key part of ensuring the Government’s five key tests continue to be met, which will inform how and when other services and organisations can resume operation.