Increased COVID safety measures will protect the community, says Merton Council leader.

Merton residents should continue to play their part in protecting themselves and their community as COVID-19 safety measures are increased across the Country.

Councillor Mark Allison, Leader of Merton Council, said that by following new national guidance residents and businesses in Merton are supporting the Government’s bid to tackle the new Omicron variant in the UK.

The announcement from the Government said that from 4am on Tuesday 30 November:

  • Face coverings will become compulsory in shops and other settings such as banks, post offices and hairdressers, as well as public transport, unless individuals are exempt.
  • All travellers arriving into the country will be required to take a PCR test on or before day two and isolate until they have a negative result
  • All close contacts of anyone who has tested positive for the Omicron variant are required to isolate for 10 days, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has also urgently reviewed vaccine response measures. Previously, only those aged over 40 years old and those at higher risk from COVID-19 were offered a booster. New JCVI advice means that those aged 18 to 39 will also be eligible for a booster when the NHS calls them forward.

The booster will be offered in order of descending age groups, with priority given to the vaccination of older adults and those in a COVID-19 at-risk group. In response to the changing risk posed by the Omicron variant, the booster will soon be given three months after the second dose (down from six months).

As is the case with most vaccines, protection reduces over time, so it is vital to get the booster jab to top up your level of protection and help your body fight off COVID-19

In addition, a second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for young people aged 12 to 15 years will soon be available, at least 12 weeks after the first dose.

Anyone aged 12+ can attend one of the walk-in sessions that take place every day in the borough or book an appointment on the National Booking Service to get a vaccination.

Cllr Mark Allison, Leader of Merton Council, said: “Unfortunately, COVID-19 is not over, so we all have a responsibility to protect ourselves and each other.

“The latest changes to safety measures apply to settings where people could come into close contact with others and will help reduce the chances of the virus spreading.

“Throughout the pandemic our residents have done their best to protect their local community from COVID-19. With the identification of a new variant, I urge everyone to do everything they can through testing, looking out for COVID-19 symptoms, getting their vaccine and booster when eligible and wearing face coverings to keep themselves and the community safe”

COVID-19 testing and vaccinations provide the best means of preventing the spread and severity of infections.

It’s also vital that we continue with regular handwashing and try to meet up in well ventilated areas by opening windows wherever possible.

Regular asymptomatic testing can help to stop the spread of COVID-19.  All lateral flow rapid tests are free and you get a result in 15 to 30 minutes. Residents without COVID-19 symptoms can have assistance to take a test from our Asymptomatic Testing sites including 18 Community Pharmacies across Merton, Centre Court Shopping Centre in Wimbledon and the Wilson Hospital.  

If you feel unwell with COVID-19 symptoms? Please isolate and take a PCR test immediately.  

You can find out more about the national safety measures here https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-takes-decisive-action-against-new-covid-19-variant