Milton Keynes health chief warns that reopening the economy will see 'resurgence' of cases among younger people

A local health chief has warned that reopening the economy will see a 'resurgence' of COVID-19 cases, particularly among younger people, and has issued advice to businesses to combat this.

Next week will see the nation progress into stage two of easing lockdown restrictions, meaning that non-essential retail, gyms, hairdressers, and lots of other businesses will be able to reopen.

And one of the city's most senior health figures, the local Director of Public Health, Vicky Head, has warned that it could lead to an increase in cases - and has urged businesses to take extra steps to prevent the spread of the virus. 

She said: "Although our local COVID-19 infection rate has fallen in recent months, it is still higher than the regional average. Workplaces remain one of the most likely places to catch the virus. In Milton Keynes, there is a young workforce who will not receive their vaccination until the summer. As the economy starts to open it is likely we will see a resurgence of cases, particularly in younger people.

"Current Government guidance states that all businesses should continue to encourage staff to work from home wherever possible. However, where staff do need to attend go into their workplace to work, it is important to continue to follow these straightforward actions to stop the virus spreading."

Vicky Head has published some advice for businesses to ensure that the virus is kept under control. It reads: 

- Remind your employees to observe the HANDS – FACE – SPACE rules and provide the right materials, such as hand sanitiser and signage. The importance of these measures is explained in the following Government video.

- Maximise ventilation in the workspace.

- Encourage employees with any cold-like symptoms to be extra cautious. This may mean isolating and booking a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or via 119.

- Establish rapid workplace testing on site or support workers to do this at home. Free rapid tests for businesses for regular workplace testing. Businesses must register interest by 12 April to access free tests.

- Tell Milton Keynes Council of any confirmed COVID-19 cases at your workplace by completing this form.

"This is a vital part of surveillance and means we can ensure you and your business get the help you need," she concluded.