Derbyshire's public health director issues statement about Omicron in county as restrictions return

Derbyshire’s director of public health (DPH) has issued a statement about the return of restrictions to tackle the recently discovered Covid variant Omicron.

Face coverings are mandatory again on public transport and in shops across England as part of measures to tackle the variant, which was first detected by doctors in South Africa.

People arriving in the UK will have to take a PCR test and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.

Dean Wallace, Derbyshire's director of public health, has urged people to follow new restrictions to tackle the Omicron variant.

Derbyshire DPH Dean Wallace said it was ‘not surprising to see variants with circulating viruses’ and this is why it remains so important to keep case rates as low as possible.

“While we need more time to fully understand the impact of this new and potentially more transmissible variant, we know the measures that work to help control previous variants are the same which are to wear face coverings, have good hand hygiene, keep a distance from people from other households and have well-ventilated indoor areas,” Mr Wallace said.

“Taking a lateral flow test when you’re going to be in close contact with people outside your household also helps reduce the risk to yourself and others.

"It’s also important to get a PCR test if you have symptoms and to self-isolate until you get the result, followed by self-isolating for the full 10 days if it’s positive.”

Mr Wallace said vaccines were more imprtant than ever.

“The vaccine remains our key defence against Covid-19 and while it’s important that people take up their first and second doses followed by their boosters these practical hygiene measures play a major part in supporting the roll-out of the vaccination programme,” he said.

“This combined approach has enabled many of us get back to something like a ‘normal’ life, helped to keep families and communities safe, reduce the number of people admitted to hospital and protect the health and social care services we all rely on.

“We will keep a close eye on the research around this new variant and will continue to inform and advise our residents in line with Government guidelines.”