Health and care leaders have echoed an appeal by our local police force for people to follow Government guidance and not go out to celebrate New Year.
Avon and Somerset Police are urging people to take responsibility for their actions and do what they can to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Dr Peter Brindle, GP and Medical Director at Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG said:
This New Year will be unlike any other we have experienced before. The rising number of COVID-19 cases combined with ordinary seasonal demand means that services - particularly in our hospitals - are pressured.
We are incredibly proud of our dedicated health and social care staff in our hospitals, community services and GP practices who continue to work in new ways to ensure that everyone in our area receives safe and effective care. If you have a loved one in hospital you can make a big difference by helping them to return home promptly as soon as they are medically well enough to be discharged.
You can also support our NHS and Social care services by celebrating safely, follow the national guidance on preventing the spread of COVID-19, and remember that NHS 111 is there to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week if you have an urgent medical problem. Please also remember Hands, Face, Space.
Christina Gray, Director of Public Health for Bristol, said:
After a hugely challenging year, I am sure many of us will be keen to wave goodbye to 2020. However, those celebrating the New Year must do so safely and we encourage people to avoid gatherings and instead celebrate at home, only with those you live with, or are in your support bubble.
At this critical time we cannot be complacent and risk further spread and pressure on our health services. The new strain of COVID-19 is much more infectious and we must act now to stop transmission and save lives. Act as if you do have the virus – do not socially mix, remember hands, face, space and if you develop symptoms, get tested.
We end the year with positive news of the vaccines and plans for additional testing to stem the spread of COVID-19, but we need people to keep playing their part. Do the most you can do, not the least, to protect one another. Thank you to everyone for your sacrifices so far and I wish you all a safe and happy New Year.
Director of Public Health for South Gloucestershire, Sara Blackmore, said:
We are urging people to avoid gatherings this New Year’s Eve. It remains essential that we keep our social interactions to a minimum to stop the spread and protect our NHS, our loved ones and the most vulnerable in our communities. The safest way to see in the New Year is at home with members of your own household or support bubble only.
Everyone needs to take responsibility for their own behaviour. Please play your part in helping us to continue to move in the right direction so that we can all look forward to a brighter 2021.
Leader of North Somerset Council, Cllr Don Davies, said:
There are reasons to celebrate this New Year, with vaccines already being delivered we can look forward to starting to get back to the things we love in 2021. But right now we need to hold our nerve and keep doing what we’ve learned this year - washing our hands, covering our faces where we can, and making space. Please follow the guidance and celebrate at home. Let’s keep looking after each other.