Following the designation today (Wednesday) of the Isle of Wight as a Tier 3 area, residents are being urged to continue to play their part to #KeepTheIslandSafe.
From Boxing Day (Saturday 26 December), the Island will move into tougher Tier 3 restrictions — also known as alert level very high — following a rapid rise in Covid-19 cases in recent days.
In Tier 3, people must not meet anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor or outdoor setting, whether at home or in a public space. The ‘rule of six’ applies in open public spaces such as parks and beaches.
Hospitality, such as pubs, restaurants, bars and cafes, are allowed to stay open for takeaway, drive-through or delivery service only.
Full details are available on the new rules can be found on the government website or in the graphic below.
Meanwhile, residents can help by taking the following simple steps to limit the spread of the virus:
- Wear a face covering in enclosed environments.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Maintain social distancing including when meeting six people outside.
- Self-isolate when infection is suspected or confirmed.
- Ensure your home is well ventilated.
Last week the government gave details of a new variant of coronavirus which led to large parts of the south east — including Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant — being placed into a new Tier 4 level of restrictions.
Isle of Wight Council leader Dave Stewart said: “The data suggests the new variant of the virus transmits more easily than other strains but there is currently no evidence that it is more likely to cause severe disease or mortality.
“Sadly, I fear the coronavirus variant may have already reached the Island as our new case rates are increasing rapidly.
“So soon after the good news about the vaccine roll out, if anyone needed a reminder about how serious a threat coronavirus remains, then this is it.
“Like other Tier 1 areas, we’ve seen cases sharply rising which is clearly the wrong direction and going into Tier 3 now brings additional restrictions and pressures, particularly for our local economy, that nobody wanted to see.
“This definitely isn’t the news we wanted, but we’ll continue working with our MP, the Isle of Wight NHS Trust and local business organisations to understand the full implications for our residents, our businesses and of course for people’s health and wellbeing.
“I am really disappointed for all of our local businesses that have worked so hard with us to operate in a Covid-secure way. I doubt they could have done any more and want to thank them for what they have done. We will do all we can to support them during what I know will be a difficult time.
“Taking personal responsibility and making good choices continues to be the best way to protect yourself and those you love from the virus. We must all take action to protect each other and our hospital capacity.
“The gradual introduction of vaccines and testing in the coming months will assist us in this challenge, but I can only urge, it is what we all do will make the biggest difference.
“It remains imperative that everyone on the Island follows the rules laid out. This is going to mean difficulties, tough choices and personal sacrifices but it’s the best way to beat Covid-19, get infection rates down and for the Island to gain back the upper hand against this deadly virus.
“Let’s remember, there was life before the pandemic and all of the signs are hopeful that we can return to something of that life in 2021.”
Simon Bryant, the Island’s director of public health, said: “Infections on the Island are rising and we need to do all we can to prevent the spread of infection.
“I want to thank everyone for continuing to follow the rules which has helped to save lives. If you do have symptoms, please immediately get a Covid-19 test and self-isolate.
“It is even more important we observe the guidelines of hands-face-space-ventilate even more closely than before. Remember, around one in three people with Covid-19 have no symptoms so could be spreading the virus without realising.”
Support is available to those who need it through the council’s Covid-19 helpline (01983) 823600.
This helpline is for anyone who needs help because of self-isolation, who is alone with no local network of friends, family or neighbours and needs support, or who feels vulnerable and may need assistance with:
- help to access pharmacy medication delivery services and healthcare needs;
- access to online shopping delivery services or small essential shopping requests;
- signposting to partner agencies for support with issues arising from isolation including welfare, finance, mental health, childcare issues, crisis advice and support or other caring responsibilities.
For further information, visit keeptheislandsafe.org