What has changed?
The government has announced that England has moved to Plan B in response to the risks of the Omicron variant.
- Face coverings are required by law in most indoor settings.
- Office workers who can work from home should do so.
- Certain venues and events will be required by law to check that all visitors aged 18 years or over are fully vaccinated, have proof of a negative test in the last 48 hours, or have an exemption.
COVID-19 remains a risk
It is still possible to catch and spread COVID-19, even if you are fully vaccinated.
Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test result should stay at home and self-isolate immediately. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should arrange to take a PCR test as soon as possible, even if you’ve had one or more doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
COVID-19 will be a feature of our lives for the foreseeable future, so we need to learn to live with it and manage the risk to ourselves and others.
All of us can play our part by understanding the situations where risks of COVID-19 infection and transmission are likely to be higher and taking action to reduce these risks.
Understanding the risks of COVID-19
The risk of catching or passing on COVID-19 can be higher in certain places and when doing certain activities. COVID-19 is spread by airborne transmission, close contact via droplets, and via surfaces. Airborne transmission is a very significant way that the virus circulates. It is possible to be infected by someone you don’t have close contact with, especially if you’re in a crowded and/or poorly ventilated space.
Close contact with an infected person is also a significant way COVID-19 is spread. When someone with COVID-19 breathes, speaks, coughs or sneezes, they release particles containing the virus that causes COVID-19. The particles can come into contact with the eyes, nose or mouth or can be breathed in by another person. The particles can also land on surfaces and be passed from person to person via touch.
In general, the risk of catching or passing on COVID-19 is higher in crowded and enclosed spaces, where there are more people who might be infectious and limited fresh air.
In situations where there is a higher risk of catching or passing on COVID-19, you should be particularly careful to follow the guidance on keeping yourself and others safe. Every little action helps to keep us all safer.
Keeping yourself and others safe
There are still cases of COVID-19 in England and there is a risk you could catch or pass on the virus, even once you are fully vaccinated. This means it is important that you understand and consider the risks of catching or spreading COVID-19 in all situations.
While no situation is risk free, there are easy and effective actions you can take to protect yourself and others around you.
If you are worried about going back to a more ‘normal’ life, there is information from the NHS on how to cope with anxiety about lockdown lifting.
All adults in England have now been offered at least 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccines are safe and effective. Getting fully vaccinated is the best way of protecting you and others against COVID-19.
If you have not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine, you should get vaccinated. Evidence indicates that 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine provide very effective protection against hospitalisation. It usually takes around 2 to 3 weeks for your body to develop its protective response.
A Covid experience – This was the personal description written by a factory manager just before Christmas having caught Covid in early November
The following is a true report written by a Factory Manager. He works for one of our clients. He was a fit and healthy individual who regularly played football at the weekends, is married with a couple of children. But he has always been opposed to vaccinations saying that “vaccinations can weaken the body”. So, he did not have the Covid vaccination and laughed at our consultant when he said that he was getting his Flu jab at the weekend.
That weekend, when Chris was getting his Flu Jab, this individual found he had Covid. He has now out of hospital but struggles to walk very far.
He did, however, agree to write about his experience in order to help others thinking about not getting vaccinated. We are keeping his identity to ourselves for obvious reasons but thank him for his honesty
Covid positive! It was hard to move around as I noticed my breathing getting shorter.
When I woke the next morning, I realised I could not even sit up without feeling suffocated. The ambulance came, the nurse took my oxygen saturation level which indicated 84 and then listened to my lungs. The nurse said “she heard bubbles in my lungs and if we move you all hell will break loose”. The nurse told me I was drowning inside and put me straight onto oxygen before moving me to the ambulance.
On arrival to hospital 5 doctors gathered around me and asked me “Have you had your vaccines”. I shook my head and with no words I could see the disappointment in their eyes. The doctor at once gave me several injections and then told me I was very unwell. The doctor said the next 12 hours was critical to my recovery, if I did not improve breathing pipes would be placed in my chest and after would be placed in an induced coma. That night I lay in isolation unable to breathe on my own.
Moved to Covid ward I started to recover over the next few days. On day 4 I was able to breathe on my own and saw many unwell Covid patients. I experienced only 1 patient out of 10 who had vaccines who had Covid and also witnessed an incredible NHS team who coped very well, and am very thankful to them.
I never voiced an opinion or disapproved of vaccines. Fit and healthy with no underlying health conditions I put vaccines on hold. However, from Covid I got chronic pneumonia and spent 5 days in hospital to recover which was a life-or-death experience.
We have a choice to have vaccines and I will have mine now. Not just from my own experience but the emotional upset it can cause to your family and disruption around your everyday life.
Do not wait for a life or death experience, I encourage you all to get your vaccines if you already have not done so. Covid is real and it is not going away, do it now before it is too late. Look after yourself and your family and friends.
Introducing our new Human Resources partner.
Dan Jenkins MCIPD
Dan is the Managing Director of our HR partner business, HJS Human Resources, who offer a range of valuable HR and employment law support services for employers. With over 30 years’ experience in management, HR and employment law Dan and the team at HJS Human Resources can provide whatever support is needed. Services include employment contracts, staff handbooks, HR advice, employment law guidance and employment tribunal protection.