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Councillor urges people to get tested for COVID-19 before heading to the pub

People have been urged to get a COVID-19 test before heading to the pub as restrictions eased this week.

Cllr Stuart Carroll (Con, Boyn Hill) cabinet member for health said it was important residents do not think it is ‘job done as far as the pandemic is concerned’ and warned the virus is still very transmissible.

He said: “We need to get the message out that testing isn’t just for some people, it’s for everyone. If you are going out and having a few drinks in a beer garden it’s worth getting tested before and after.

“Testing is critical to keep this virus at bay and under control so we can identify people who are positive. One in three people will be asymptomatic but you could be a transmitter and be infectious so it’s I think absolutely testing is an essential part of this.”

He said he often gets tested at Braywick Leisure Centre before playing football and the whole process usually takes no longer than five minutes, with results coming in 20-45 minutes later.

People have also been urged to order home testing kits which can be picked up from the Royal Borough or ordered on the Government website.

He added: “Even with a successful vaccination programme we’ve still to keep getting vaccine levels high and it is likely there will be a booster campaign towards the end of year. The vaccine may be our nuclear weapon, but testing is a significant part of our artillery to push this virus back and defeat it.”

Although Royal Borough coronavirus cases remain relatively low, Cllr Carroll explained that this was due to lockdown restrictions but with schools soon returning after the Easter holidays, it’s important that parents and carers get tested.

He said through his own work as an epidemiologist on the UK’s vaccine task force, it had been established that child-to-child transmission was relatively low.

“All evidence shows that child-to-child transmission is very, very small, where the child is picking up the virus is from their household so that does speak two critical things. First every adult should get vaccinated when it is their time to do and the second is testing, because testing identifies where the virus is quickly.”

He said it was also critical that people follow socially distancing guidelines, wash their hands vigorously and wear masks.

He said there will still a few sever cases of COVID in the borough and it was important that people self isolated straight away if they had any symptoms and got medical attention if they had sever symptoms.

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