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Don't let the weather force your garden party indoors

Public Health specialists are urging families to be cautious when organising outdoor social activities in gardens this half-term.

Dr Naveed Syed, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control at Public Health England West Midlands said: “Check the weather forecast before committing to inviting large numbers to your event. With our unpredictable weather I’m concerned that what starts off in the garden quickly becomes an unsafe gathering indoors if there is a heavy downpour and there’s a rush for cover. No more than six people (including children) or two households are allowed to go inside together as there is too much of a risk of spreading the virus. As we know, one in three have no symptoms and unknowingly pass on the virus which spreads much more easily inside.

“Our overall numbers in the West Midlands have begun to level off but are still low thanks to the number of people having their vaccinations. However, the numbers for the more transmissible VOC-APR-02, which originated in India, are on the increase. The latest published statistics revealed an increase from 157 cases to 258 cases in one week in West Midlands. This is why it is so important that everyone follows the rules.

“We have previously seen a spike in cases following school holidays when children have mixed with friends and some have passed on the virus to their families. This half term it is very important we do not become complacent. There are still restrictions in place until 21 June at the earliest.

“It is great news that those aged 30 and 31 are now being offered the vaccine. I would urge everyone invited to take it up. This virus is excellent at finding chinks in our armour and seeks out the unprotected. Those in hospital with COVID-19 are predominantly unvaccinated or vulnerable people with underlying conditions. “

The advice remains to minimise how many people you are in close contact with and for how long, follow the guidelines - remember hands, face, space and fresh air, socialise outdoors, work from home if you can, get vaccinated and take up the offer of regular testing.

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