Dr Catherine Mbema, our Director of Public Health, shares the latest update on steps to protect our community from coronavirus: new rules announced last night to control the spread of the Omicron variant, and opportunities for getting your COVID-19 vaccination.
Last night the Government announced new rules to control the spread of the COVID-19 in light of further information that we have about the spread of the new Omicron variant. London, including Lewisham, has some of the highest numbers of Omicron variant cases in the country. We are continuing to work with colleagues in the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to respond to any cases and outbreaks in the Lewisham area that involve the new variant. Alongside this, it is really important that we continue to work together (as we have done throughout the pandemic) to do all that we can to limit the spread of the virus.
There are a number of new measures coming in over the coming days that I first want to highlight:
- From tomorrow (10 December) face coverings will need to be worn by law in more venues, which include most indoor settings such as libraries, places of worship and community centres. See the full list of places on the Government website.
- Guidance to work from home wherever possible will return on Monday (13 December).
- From next Wednesday (15 December) certain venues and events will be required by law to check that all visitors aged 18 years or over are fully vaccinated, have proof of a negative test in the last 48 hours, or have an exemption.
In addition to these new measures I want to remind you of the other things that we all still need to keep doing to limit spread of the virus:
- Stay at home, self-isolate and get a PCR test if you feel unwell and have symptoms of COVID-19. Find information on the difference between PCR and LFD tests on the Government website.
- Test regularly with lateral flow tests if you do not have symptoms. Find more information on when you should use lateral flow tests on the NHS website.
- Use face coverings where they are now mandatory unless you are exempt as outlined above.
- Remember to ensure that you have good ventilation if indoors. Find guidance on ventilation of indoor spaces on the Government website.
- Get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 – and it’s never too late to get your vaccine. The vaccines are safe and effective, and it was one year to the day yesterday that the NHS delivered the first COVID-19 vaccination.
Vaccination opportunities coming up in Lewisham
Next week the NHS is running a six-day, walk-in Pfizer vaccination clinic at Waldron Health Centre in Amersham Vale (SE14 6LD). Anyone aged 16 or over can get the dose they are due – be that their 1st, 2nd or booster dose. Free festive refreshments will be available, and if you are eligible for the free flu jab you can get that too!
The clinic runs 14-19 December inclusive at these times:
- 9am – 7pm, Tuesday 14 December – Thursday 16 December
- 9am – 5pm, Friday 17 December
- 9am – 4pm, Saturday 18 December
- 11am – 5pm, Sunday 19 December.
University Hospital Lewisham also continues to run its six-days-a-week walk-in vaccination clinic for anyone aged 12+. The clinic is held in the Lessof auditorium, Lewisham High Street, S13 6LH on Monday to Saturday, 9-4 pm.
There are three pharmacies in the borough running walk-in evening vaccination clinics:
- New Cross Pharmacy, Amersham Vale – Mon-Fri 7pm-9pm
- Vantage Pharmacy, Conisborough Crescent – Mon-Fri 7pm-9pm
- Lewisham Pharmacy, Lee High Rd – Mon-Fri 6pm-8pm.