From today people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are being urged to support a new NHS Test and Trace programme which will aim to track every single case of coronavirus in our communities to stop the infection spreading.
In a briefing on May 27, Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, urged everyone to support the programme, which aims to gradually replace the national lockdown with individual isolation for those who have been in contact with the virus and local action where it is necessary to respond to a flare up of coronavirus cases.
As we move out of the national lockdown, we are asking those who have been in contact with anyone who might have the virus to isolate themselves.
Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council will also be able to take robust action where a number of people have or are suspected of having caught the virus.
From now on, everyone is being asked to follow this three-step plan:
Step 1 - If you have one or more of the symptoms of coronavirus - a fever, a new continuous cough or a loss of taste or smell - you and the people you live with must immediately self-isolate.
Step 2 - You then must book a test on the www.NHS/coronavirus website and if you don't have internet access dial 119. Do not leave home for any other reason. If you test positive, you will then be contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service within 24 hours.
Step 3 - If you do test positive, NHS Test and Trace will help you establish who you have been in contact with and might have infected. This could be members of your own household already isolating or someone you have been within 2 metres of for more than 15 minutes. You will also be given clinical advice and support for dealing with the virus. NHS Test and Trace will then contact those contacts anonymously. If you are one of those contacts, you will be advised to isolate for 14 days, even if you don't have symptoms or feel perfectly well. If you developed symptoms, you would be required to get a test.
Councillor John Holdich, leader of Peterborough City Council, said: "Thanks to the efforts of everyone who has abided by the national lockdown measures so far we are past the peak of the virus and beginning to look at how we can start to return to living our lives through for example the reopening of shops and other services. But to maintain this will require us to behave differently if we are to be safe.
"The Government has made it clear that until there is a cure or a vaccine, NHS Test and Trace is a crucial part of being able to slow the spread of the virus even further and to be able to release us gradually from lockdown.
"It is all our duty to follow the instructions set out by the Government - to self-isolate immediately if you get symptoms and to get a test. If you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace, instructing you to isolate, you must do so.
"We know it might be difficult for people to self-isolate, particularly if they don't have support from friends, family or neighbours. There is a network of services provided through local hubs that support and help those, if required, who are self-isolating."
Councillor Steve Count, Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "The Government has made it very clear that if you get symptoms you must isolate immediately and get a test. If you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace, instructing you to isolate, you must do so.
"If the lockdown measures are to be lifted further we all need to follow these instructions to slow the spread of the virus even further, keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, along with protecting the NHS and all key workers.
"The more people who correctly use Test and Trace, the greater impact it will have on the spread of the virus and the quicker we will be able to return to seeing the people we love and doing the things we all enjoy.
"We know that people who are required to self-isolate might need help and support if they don't have friends, family or neighbours to call upon, and we will make sure that support is available through the network of local hubs."
A network of COVID-19 hubs is working across the county to help people who need support at this time and don't have family, friends or neighbours they can ask for help.