London, 22 January – The new, highly contagious Covid-19 variant is spreading fast – 50% to 70% faster than the variant in 2020 – leading to increased pressure on a strained NHS and more deaths. The R-number has risen to 1.3 in many parts of the country, compared to 0.9 at last year’s peak, placing the country into a health emergency.
Medics and the Police are calling on the public to not be complacent this weekend and to stop the spread by sticking to the rules which are ‘crucial’ if the country is to successfully ease pressure on the NHS and minimise the number of Covid-19 deaths. Any deviation of the rules could be fatal to others.
With a third of people having no symptoms when carrying the virus, the message is clear from the frontline workers – we all must act like we have the virus and understand that bending the rules leads to the virus spreading, which puts a huge amount of pressure on an already stretched NHS.
A new short infographic film has been developed with NERVTAG data and released today to demonstrate how quickly the new Covid-19 variant spreads. The film demonstrates how in some parts of the country 1 in 30 people are infected with the virus, so bending the rules could be fatal, for example:
- In a street with just a couple of hundred people living on it, at least 6 people could have Covid-19
- On the average person’s social media account, 11 of their followers could have the virus
- At a full Wembley Stadium, that would be equivalent to 3,000 fans
The film is narrated by TV and NHS medic Dr Ranj Singh and will run across PR and social media in England from this weekend.
As a plea to the nation, Dr Ranj said: “Please don’t risk contracting or passing on the virus and stay home as much as possible. I know it is tough and we are bored with the guidelines, but on behalf of my colleagues in the NHS, please stay at home. I can see it in my hospital, staff are struggling to cope with the amount of care needed to be given to more and more patients suffering from this terribly debilitating virus.
“If you are going out to exercise, please do so as locally as possible, never exercise with more than one person from another household and always keep 2 metres distance. If you have to go to the shops, go alone, wear a face mask when indoors and washing your hands before and afterwards. We all need to be vigilant – meeting someone in your supermarket who’s pushed the same trolley or held the same basket could well have coronavirus.”
The message is clear: stay at home. However, if you do have to go outside you must:
- keep two metres away from everyone
- wear a face mask covering the nose and mouth when indoors
- keep washing your hands
If you have to go to the shops, go alone and limit the trips, someone in your supermarket who has pushed the same trolley or held the same basket is likely to have Covid-19.
If you have to exercise outdoors, exercise locally and never exercise with more than one person from another household and always keep some distance.
Whilst the vast majority of the public have supported this huge national effort and followed the rules, the actions of a few people who are ignoring or bending the rules is putting everyone at risk and placing further pressure on doctors, nurses and NHS staff across the country.
Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Martin Hewitt, said: “We are at the most dangerous stage of this pandemic and each of us has a personal responsibility to do everything we can to stop the spread of Coronavirus.
“The easiest way to keep our family and friends safe is to stay at home. If you have to go out ask yourself if your journey is essential, and if it is, then think about the safest possible way to do that to minimise contact with others.
“Whilst the vast majority of us follow the rules and stay at home police officers will be visible in communities tackling those who are not playing their part. We will not hesitate to issue fines to those deliberately breaching the regulations with no regard for the safety of others.”
The vaccine gives us hope for the future but rising infection rates and deaths requires all of our action now. The situation is serious for everyone. We all need to play our part so Stay Home > Protect the NHS > Save Lives.
Visit gov.uk/coronavirus for more information.
The video can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/gPREoKx2k8o
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Essential exemptions for leaving the house;
- shop for basic necessities, for you or a
- go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
- exercise with your household (or bubble) or one other person
- meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
- seek medical assistance (including getting a COVID-19 test or to receive a COVID-19 vaccine) or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
- attend education or childcare – for those eligible