The rise of the Covid-19 Omicron variant has been a massive acceleration of the vaccine booster programme, with all adults promised the offer of a jab before the end of the year.
But while doses are still being dished out, health chiefs have insisted it is more important than ever to stick to guidelines on testing, self-isolating and face coverings.
“Breaking chains of infection as quickly as possible prevents the virus from spreading,” said Liz Morgan, director of public health at Northumberland County Council.
“One of the quickest ways of doing this is for individuals who test positive to self-isolate immediately.
“Even if you are feeling well, I would urge everyone to play their part to keep their communities safe.
“This situation remains dynamic and the pandemic is very much still with us, so my advice is to continue to be cautious to protect our families, friends and communities.”
She added: “There is no room for complacency and I’d emphasise once again the need to do all we can to protect ourselves and others.”
Following the emergence of the Omicron variant, which is expected to become the UK’s dominant coronavirus strain in the coming days, a new set of Plan B rules were announced by the Prime Minister.
Compulsory to wear a face covering in most indoor settings, although pubs and restaurants are expected to remain exempt Ending self-isolation for fully vaccinated people in close contact with a confirmed Covid-19 case, provided they take daily lateral flow tests and receive a negative result A requirement for all frontline NHS and social care staff to be fully vaccinated from April 2022
Morgan added the measures would help “slow the spread as much as possible”, reducing the risk of the NHS being overwhelmed.
All adults aged over 18 can book a Covid-19 booster shot, provided they had their second dose at least three months ago.
The official advice remains:
Present for a vaccine or booster as soon as you are offered one Wear face coverings where required and in other busy places Self-isolate and book a PCR test straight away if you develop symptoms Use of lateral flow self-testing kits regularly to ensure you aren’t spreading Covid without realising