After a period from Mid-November onwards in which the number of people with a positive Covid-19 test in the UK declined, in recent days we have unfortunately seen a rise in Covid-19 cases, with over 25,000 cases reported in the UK on 16 December. This rise in case numbers has been particularly high in parts of London and South-East England, leading to more areas of England being placed in Tier 3.
Despite the enthusiasm and optimism generated by the Covid-19 vaccination programme, the number of people being vaccinated is well-below the level needed to start to reduce infection rates in the community. Without a very rapid escalation in the Covid-19 vaccination programme, which in turn depends on very quickly obtaining a much large supply of vaccines than we have available now, it will be sometime (perhaps several months, depending on vaccine availability) before enough people in England and elsewhere in the UK are vaccinated to have an impact on Covid-19 infection rates.
For the time being, therefore, it’s essential that people follow the local Covid-19 rules for the area where they live. In particular, mixing indoors with people from other households should be avoided as the risk of infection in substantially higher in crowded, indoor spaces where ventilation is poor.
Everyone should be mindful of older friends, relatives and social contacts; and those with long-term medical problems. These groups are at the highest risk of serious illness and death if they contract Covid-19 and should be very cautious in their interactions indoors with people not from their immediate household.
Although everyone wants to enjoy Christmas, it’s essential that infection control measures and local Covid-19 rules are followed during the holidays to protect yourself and others, and to relieve pressure on the NHS.