HEALTH bosses are urging people to act with caution and take up the vaccine, after Covid cases in Southend have tripled in the last week.

New data has shown there were 62 confirmed cases in Southend in the seven days up to June 13 - a 195 per cent increase on the previous week.

This brings the weekly rate to 33.9 per cent per 100,000 residents.

It comes as the Prime Minister confirmed last night that stage four of the roadmap out of lockdown is being delayed until July 19.

Director of public health, Krishna Ramkhelawon is urging everyone to do their bit.

He said: "It has been great to see our wonderful Borough so busy and vibrant again, with the seafront busy and people able to get together in gardens, shops, pubs, restaurants and bars for example.

“But we must all remember COVID is still with us and we must all continue doing key things like hands, face, space and fresh air, planning ahead and keeping each other safe by acting responsibly when we are getting together. Rates in Southend remain low, but they have been steadily increasing and doubled in the last week.

“The NHS vaccination programme has now reached people in their twenties which is excellent news in the fight against COVID and we can see from the lower rates in the over 60s the impact the vaccination programme is having.

“If you have had your first vaccination you can still be vulnerable for another couple of months and even when you are fully vaccinated you can still catch COVID, albeit symptoms are likely to be less severe, but you could also still give it someone who is vulnerable. So please keep going and remember that COVID is still with us.”

Rates among those aged 60 and over, who have now been offered both jabs, are very low.

The largest rise is among young people who may not have been vaccinated yet.

Residents are also being urged to get tested regularly so new cases can be detected.

Cabinet member for adult social care and health, Cheryl Nevin said: "We understand that the announcement last night will disappoint many people and many businesses who are struggling right now.

"But it is a very fine balance to be struck and nationally and locally we need to give the NHS vaccination programme time to do its work, and this four-week delay will undoubtedly help with that.

“We all know what we need do to stop the virus spreading, and that includes good hand hygiene, social distancing, wearing masks and opening windows if indoors with others. Please also take up the offer of a vaccine especially residents who may need to book/re-book their second vaccination. COVID is still with us, but we really are getting there, so please keep going.”

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