Marvin Rees update, 3 September

So hope you’re keeping well. I’m just back here with another COVID update and what we’re doing in the city to keep everyone as safe as possible. So Bristol’s rate of infection is currently at 418 cases per 100,000. This compares to 432 per 100,000 this time last week. So it’s decreased slightly but we are in the middle of a plateau, with cases varying between 400 and 450 per 100,000. During the week of 12-18 July remember, we saw our highest infection rate of the pandemic, at 889 cases per 100,000. So a phenomenally high rate – we’re down at less than half that now. But the reduction in the incidence is not guaranteed, we still need to continue to work hard. So we are still seeing the number of COVID cases circulating widely in the city amongst the wider population. The England rate is currently at 313 cases per 100,000. So you can see we’re still above that rate. In our hospitals currently we have 98 people unwell with COVID-19.

So although it’s not a legal requirement, we do encourage you all to continue to wear a face covering, unless you are exempt. This is all part of maximising the possibility of those rates continuing to fall and keeping each other safe. Make space for people, wear a face covering, meet outdoors where you can and if you’re indoors, have a ventilated space. Now, these are only small things, but they do help us break the cycle, they reduce the likelihood of the virus spreading and also they’re a real show of concern and respect to other people. So please continue to engage in COVID-safe behaviours and be gracious to each other, as we’ve said a number of times. If people do ask you to put a face covering on, or ask you to keep your distance, please do not take offence. There are some people out there who are incredibly concerned about their own health and those of their loved ones and it takes a lot for people to grow up and ask someone to adapt their behaviours. So please be gracious with each other at this time. If you do have to self isolate there is support available for you, whether that’s financial, mental health guidance or urgent support to receive food. Visit our website to find out how we can help you and that’s on www.bristol.gov.uk/coronavirus/what-you-need-to-know.

Last week saw the latest international travel review, with changes that came into place on 30 August. Montenegro and Thailand are now on the red list. If you return from a red list country, you must quarantine in a government facility. The Azores, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania and Switzerland are now on the travel green list. You can find full details about international travel and the traffic light system on the government website (gov.uk).

On the vaccination front, as of 31 August, 76 per cent of people over the age of 16 – that’s about 332,000 people had their first dose of the vaccine and 65 per cent of people over the age of 16 that’s around 284,000 – had their second dose. Across England, the first doses are at 79 per cent which is higher than us and for the second dose at 71 per cent, which is higher than us. So we do have work to do on continuing to get people to get themselves vaccinated. The vaccine is available to everyone over the age of 16 now. If you’ve not had your vaccination yet, it’s not too late visit www.grabajab.net to find out how to get your jab. And remember, it really is important that you have both doses of the vaccine. As long as it’s been eight weeks since your first dose, you are able to bring your second dose forward to help give you maximum protection. You can do this on national booking system or you can visit a walk-in clinic.

And finally, thank you, everyone, for everything you’ve been doing. COVID is a long, long slog. I was saying to someone just the other day it’s like being at mile 18 of a marathon. You’ve done a lot of work, but there is still a way to go. And we just have to keep doing what we’ve always been doing, putting one foot in front of the other, engaging in COVID-safe behaviours I know it is trying – but we just need to stay the course. Okay, take care, have a good day and stay safe.