The Directors of Public Health across Sussex have issued this joint statement in response to the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions on Monday 19 July.
The lifting of Covid-19 restrictions from Monday is a significant step towards a future in which we will have to learn to live with the virus – however we should continue to do so responsibly.
The virus is still in circulation, infection rates in Sussex have increased recently and are expected to keep rising in the coming weeks. We anticipate that this may be extremely difficult for staff working in health and care and beyond, who have worked so hard to keep everyone safe. As Covid-19 cases continue to rise across Sussex, it may only add to the pressure.
The objective of keeping the number of cases as low as possible whilst moving closer to normality is a pragmatic, rather than a perfect, strategy.
Without doubt, the responsibility to protect ourselves, our loved ones, our communities and our colleagues lies with us.
We also recognise that good public health is inextricably linked to our economy, our schools and our social lives. They cannot succeed if a we allow the virus to run unchecked through the population.
The pandemic has had such a huge impact on our lives that it’s understandable many of us will want to see an end to the restrictions. We also know that there are many people who are anxious about returning to a life without them.
That’s just one of the reasons why it is recommended we continue to wear face coverings in situations when we’ll be in close contact with others, why we should keep washing our hands frequently, why we should still practice social distancing when possible and why we should keep letting fresh air into our homes and workplaces.
We should all exercise personal responsibility and continue to practice good hygiene. It’s become second nature to follow these simple measures during our daily lives in the past 18 months, so why stop now?
The vaccine remains our greatest defence in the battle against Covid-19. The response to the vaccine programme across Sussex has been tremendous and the more people who get both their jabs, the safer we will all be.
Getting tested twice a week should also remain part of our routine. If we don’t want our friends and family to get the virus, then we need to be more confident we’re not giving it to them.
Restrictions are being lifted but the pandemic is not over yet. Together, we must all play our part and help keep Sussex safe.
Alison Challenger, Director of Public Health, West Sussex County Council
Alistair Hill, Director of Public Health, Brighton & Hove City Council
Darrell Gale, Director of Public Health, East Sussex County Council