Covid: Plymouth health boss ‘concerned’ by high rates and new Omicron variant

plymouth hoe PA
Covid rates in Plymouth are considerably higher than the England average. Credit: PA

Health bosses in Plymouth have issued a warning to residents after Covid rates in the city hit their highest level since July.

Cases in the city have reached 805 per 100,000 people, which is nearly twice the England average of 496 per 100,000.

None of those have yet been linked to the new Omicron variant, but Director of Public Health Ruth Harrell has urged residents to be extra safe.

It comes as new measures were introduced by the Government to help curb the spread, including working from home and Covid passports.

Dr Ruth Harrell is the Director of Public Health for Plymouth.

“With Covid-19 rates in Plymouth currently the highest they’ve been since the previous peak in July, we need to assume – and act as if – the variant is already within our communities,” Dr Harrell said.

“There is absolutely no room for complacency, especially during the busy period in the lead up to the Christmas break when more people are shopping and socialising.

“I would urge everyone to closely follow all the measures that are being put in place nationally and to think really carefully about how they can minimise the risks to themselves and to others. 

“This means wearing face coverings – not just when we have to but when it makes sense to in busy indoor spaces, as well as taking regular lateral flow tests, and ensuring there is plenty of ventilation if socialising indoors.

“It remains really important that people get vaccinated, to protect against serious disease.”

When new ‘Plan B’ measures will come into effect:

  • From 10 December: mandatory face covering rules are extended to most indoor settings (but will not include hospitality settings).

  • From 13 December: the guidance is for people to work from home if they can. Anyone who cannot work from home should continue to travel to their workplace.

  • From 15 December: mandatory certification for certain settings will be introduced. This will mean a requirement to show vaccination status or a recent negative test to enter certain high risk settings.