Staying safe over February mid-term break


The Public Health Agency (PHA) is urging people to mindful of the COVID-19 guidance over mid-term break.

Dr Gerry Waldron, Head of Health Protection at the PHA, said: “After a very tough winter we are all looking forward to nicer weather and brighter days, but right now we are in a very important moment of the pandemic, after weeks of home-schooling and working from home for many of us it might be tempting to break up the monotony of everyday life but it’s essential that we don’t become complacent.

“The sacrifices we have all made during this lockdown are making a difference, and infection rates are dropping – that combined with the roll out of the vaccination programme provides many reasons to be hopeful as we approach February mid-term, but it remains as important as ever to continue following the rules if we are to have better times ahead.”

The core advice around what we can do to reduce our risk has been in place since the start of the pandemic and it is really important that we continue to follow these steps:

  • Wear a face covering indoors where social distancing isn’t possible, or where it’s required, such as in shops, shopping centres, taxis, public transport and banks.
  • It is also essential to wear a face covering properly and to handle it appropriately, or else it won’t provide the maximum level of protection. For example, make sure both your nose and mouth are covered, and it fits snugly – if you leave your nose exposed, it means you’re exhaling and inhaling without any covering, which largely defeats the purpose of it. Also, avoid touching or adjusting your face covering unless your hands are clean, as you risk transferring the virus from your hands to your face. If you are wearing a face covering, don’t get a false sense of security about the level of protection it may offer.
  • You should also maintain a social distance of at least 2m (around 6ft) between you and anyone outside of your household, to minimise your exposure to the virus and reduce the potential of spreading the infection.
  • It is also important to wash your hands properly, as this is one of the most effective things you can do to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Wash hands regularly, and use sanitiser outside your home when hand washing isn’t possible, especially as you enter a building and after you have had contact with surfaces. Also try to avoid touching your face, and wash your hands as soon as you get home. If you sneeze or cough, ‘catch it, bin it, kill it.’

Dr Waldron continued: “The rule to stay at home remains in place as we are still in lockdown, and although many people will be off work and children will have more free time during the day it’s really important that we all stay local, do not travel around the country and don’t mix households.

“We can still take exercise locally, so to keep active you could think about working out a different walking route around your area for each day of the week to provide physical activity for the family with a bit of variety.

“The advice is simple, but it is there for a reason – to help keep us and those around us safe. Don’t take unnecessary risks, exercise common sense, and take every step available to help protect yourself, your loved ones and the community.

“Let’s all make sure we do what we can to stay safe.”

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