Lancashire Resilience Forum responds to government's 'living with Covid' strategy

Monday, February 21, 2022

***** The following is on behalf of the Lancashire Resilience Forum ***** Leading figures from the Lancashire Resilience Forum (LRF) have urged the public to proceed with caution as they prepare to live without any legal Covid restrictions for the first time in two years.

On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled the government's 'living with Covid' strategy, which brings an end to all Covid legal restrictions.

From February 24, the government will remove the legal requirements to self-isolate following a positive Covid test, although guidance will remain encouraging people to do so. Self-isolation payments will also end from this date.

From April 1, the government will end free asymptomatic and symptomatic testing. Free lateral flow tests for symptomatic older people and the most vulnerable groups will still be provided.

Addressing Parliament on Monday afternoon, the Prime Minister said that because of the efforts of the country over the past two years, we can now move from government restrictions to "personal responsibility, so we protect ourselves without losing our liberties".

The LRF, which is made up of various representatives from local public services, including Lancashire County Council, emergency services and the NHS, has now responded to the plans.

Denise Park, chair of the LRF's Strategic Coordinating Group, and chief executive of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: "Living with Covid does not mean ignoring it, it means we must adapt to live with it freely and safely.

"That means looking out for each other as we have throughout the pandemic, particularly those who are more vulnerable and likely anxious about these changes.

"We all need to take personal responsibility to ensure that we do not let this virus get the upper hand again, which will only detract from the important job of recovering and rebuilding.

"We all want Lancashire to be the best it can be so please proceed with caution as we enter this phase of living safely with Covid-19."

Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Director of Public Health for Lancashire County Council, said: "While life may be returning to some form of normality, we cannot forget everything we have learned over the past two years.

"The people of Lancashire have made so many sacrifices for the greater good and for that I am so grateful. While legal restrictions are ending, we will still need to follow simple steps if we are to live safely with Covid-19.

"That means doing the right thing and isolating if you have Covid-like symptoms, just as you would with any other highly infectious disease. Please also be kind and respect people's personal choice to wear, or not wear, a face mask.

"I would also strongly encourage those who have not yet had their first, second or booster vaccination to come forward. It is never too late to get the best protection we currently have against Covid-19."

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