Portsmouth Covid rate hits highest point in entire pandemic as health director wans 'it's not over yet'

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THE Covid infection rate in Portsmouth has reached a new peak with the city’s public health director warning: It’s not over yet.

It comes as Omicron variant cases were confirmed yesterday and the rate of infection hit 751 per 100,000 head of population.

This is the highest rate recorded since the pandemic started, with a 44 per cent increase in cases since last week alone.

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Public health director Helen Atkinson has said people should not be alarmed. But her team said the Omicron variant being in Portsmouth is a ‘stark reminder’ the situation is changing rapidly.

GV of Canoe Lake, Southsea.  Picture: Habibur RahmanGV of Canoe Lake, Southsea.  Picture: Habibur Rahman
GV of Canoe Lake, Southsea. Picture: Habibur Rahman

She said: ‘We don't want to cause alarm, but we are seeing a rise in cases.

‘As there's so much we still don't know about the new variant - how poorly different groups of people might become or how well vaccines protect against it - this is a moment for us to remember that Covid’s not over yet.

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‘As we head into the festive period - spending more time with others, particularly those more vulnerable to the virus - we all need to keep playing our part to protect ourselves and one another.

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‘Get vaccinated, keep using at home rapid testing kits, self-isolate when you need to and if you need to meet indoors, open a window regularly to help keep fresh air circulating.’

As reported, the NHS is facing major pressure.

Portsmouth council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘This can be a difficult time of year for many, and there are so many additional pressures this year on top of the usual festive activities.

‘While there are additional rules in place, and you may have to access services in a different way, the council, the NHS and schools are still doing all they can to continue to be there for those who need them - and you can play your part by showing a bit of kindness and understanding to those around you.’

People are being urged to get the Covid jab if they have not, and get a flu vaccination if eligible.

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On Wednesday night Boris Johnson announced new measures in his Plan B to slow the spread of the virus – including more mask wearing and some venues needing proof of vaccination before entry.

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