Lancashire residents urged to 'not drop guard' as new self isolation rules change from today
Fully vaccinated people in Lancashire no longer have to self-isolate if they are a close contact of someone with Covid-19 from today, August 16.
People who are double jabbed or aged under 18 are not legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive Covid-19 case.
Instead, double jabbed adults and under 18s who are identified as close contacts by NHS Test and Trace will be advised to take a PCR test as soon as possible to check if they have the virus.
And people will not be expected to self-isolate while they wait for the results of the PCR test.
But Dr Andrew Furber, Regional Director of Public Health England North West, has urged people to 'not drop their guard' after today's announcement.
He said: "Today marks another milestone in our quest to return to normality as the protection offered by the COVID-19 vaccine allows more freedom with the further relaxing of restrictions.
“These changes signal a positive step forward and one that will be welcomed by many, as adults and children will be free to return to work, attend school, and meet friends and family.
“Vaccination is breaking the link between infection and serious illness and so restrictions are easing further. But we can’t rest on our laurels just yet. The pandemic is far from over and cases are still high and pose a serious public health risk.
“Although two doses of vaccine will greatly reduce your own risk of becoming unwell, it is still possible to contract the virus and pass it to others.
“Therefore, as we move forward and legal restrictions are lifted, we still need to carry on being careful and protecting each other while cases remain high.
“It’s about striking the balance - keeping life moving whilst learning to live with coronavirus."
Allan Oldfield, vice chair of the Lancashire Resilience Forum, said: “These changes will massively reduce the disruption Covid-19 has caused to our lives and go some way to seeing life return to normal.
"These new rules only apply to those who have had both doses of the Covid vaccine, however, so if you are eligible and have not yet taken up the offer to do so – please do.
"We must also continue to take sensible steps to limit the spread of the virus within our community, such as washing hands regularly and wearing face masks in crowded places.
"Thank you to everyone who has continued to do this in recent weeks, despite restrictions easing, to help manage the Delta variant that is still ever-present in Lancashire."
And Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Director of Public Health for Lancashire County Council, has still warned caution, adding that the vaccine is not 100 per cent effective against the virus.
He said: “Cases of Covid-19 remain high in Lancashire, and we are now starting to see a rise in a number of districts.
"Having two jabs is still the most effective thing you can do to protect yourself against Covid-19. Doing so will significantly reduce the chance of hospitalisation and death and will reduce the chance of spreading the virus to others, although it is not 100 per cent effective in preventing transmission.
"If you are eligible and are not yet fully vaccinated, please do so at the earliest opportunity to protect yourself and those who you care about. Getting a PCR test if you are a close contact and continuing to test regularly – as well as continuing to take sensible precautions – will also be crucial in keeping Lancashire on the road to recovery."