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Director of Public Health urges COVID caution ahead of Christmas

Date Published: 10 December 2021

Further national COVID measures have been announced since this news story was published - view the latest rules and guidance

Rutland’s Director of Public Health is urging people to be safe and follow the latest national guidance around COVID-19 as we near the Christmas holiday season.

The UK Government has introduced a range of new national COVID-19 measures in response to the emergence of a new, more transmissible COVID variant called Omicron. These new measures include:

  • Mandatory face coverings in shops and on public transport, unless exempt
  • Anyone entering the UK will require a PCR test within 48 hours of arrival and will need to self-isolate until they have a negative result.
  • Those who are contacted by NHS Test and Trace for suspected Omicron cases will need to self-isolate for ten days, regardless of the person’s vaccination status.
  • The UK’s vaccination programme will expand to offer boosters to all over 18s


With COVID cases in Rutland having risen to more than 700 per 100,000 people in the past week, the county’s Director of Public Health, Mike Sandys, is reminding residents to take every possible precaution: “I know that everyone is looking forward to celebrating Christmas – particularly after the disappointment of last year. I also know that many people are concerned to see the return of some national safety measures in response to Omicron, such as the return of face coverings in shops and on public transport. While we learn more about the new COVID variant, we are asking residents to take extra care. This is especially important in the run-up to Christmas, when people will be travelling around the country to spend time with different family and friends. It’s vital that we do everything we can prevent COVID from spreading. This includes things like regular handwashing and sanitising, which may have fallen by the wayside following the success of the COVID vaccine. Always open the windows if you’re meeting people indoors, wear a face covering if you’re out shopping and please take up the offer of a booster when it’s your turn.”

It is still a legal requirement to self-isolate straight away if you have any COVID symptoms. If you or anyone you live with develops a high temperature, a continuous cough and or a loss or change to smell and taste, you must self-isolate and take a PCR test (a test that is sent to the lab rather than a rapid test kit use at home). Please check the NHS website for further details of what symptoms to look out for: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms

Rapid COVID-19 testing remains available for those who don’t show any symptoms, including children. These testing kits are completely free and can be used at home before meeting friends and family. Rapid home testing is a simple way of stopping the virus from spreading and tests should be carried out twice a week. To find out more, visit: www.rutland.gov.uk/LFDtesting

All over 18s will be invited to get a COVID booster jab by the NHS. It is essential that residents who are eligible for a booster come forward and get their jab when it’s offered. Further details about the COVID booster can be found online at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19

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