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Update from Director of Public Health

COVID-19 in Tower Hamlets - Dr Somen Banerjee

Wednesday 19 January

What is the local picture?

Numbers of COVID-19 cases in Tower Hamlets remain very high but have now started to fall. Over the past week we have seen 3,100 cases compared to 5,300 cases the previous week. There has been a slight drop in admissions to hospital and numbers admitted to intensive care for COVID-19 remain about the same.  

The high number of cases means that it remains as important as ever to exercise caution by wearing face masks, getting tested and self-isolating when required. 

What has changed or is about to change?

From Monday 17 January, you may be able to leave self-isolation on day five if you have two negative lateral flow tests, 24 hours apart, on days five and six.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, or test positive for COVID-19, this is counted as day zero and you must still self-isolate immediately. 

  • The next day is counted as day one of your isolation period
  • You can then take a lateral flow test on day five
  • If it is negative, you can take another test 24 hous later, on day six
  • If this is also negative, and you do not have a temperature, you no longer have to self-isolate.

These rules apply whether you are vaccinated or not.

An announcement from the Prime Minister today (19 January) shared that England's Plan B measures are to end from next Thursday 27 January, with the following restrictions being lifted:

19 January

You are no longer asked to work from home if you can. You should talk to your employer to agree arrangements to return to your workplace.

20 January 

Secondary school pupils will not be required to wear a face covering in classrooms.

27 January 

You will no longer be required to wear a face covering, but you should continue to wear one in crowded and indoor spaces where you may come into contact with people you do not normally meet.

You’ll no longer need to show your NHS COVID Pass at venues and events by law, although organisations can choose to use the NHS Covid pass if they wish.

What is happening locally?

Residents are continuing to come forward for their COVID-19 vaccination. Last week, 10,000 residents had their next dose.

From this week, if you're aged 16 or 17 you are now eligible for your booster jab if it's been three months after your last dose. You can book online or walk-in to one of our many local sites, including Queen Mary's University, E1 4NS (Mon-Sat, 9:30am - 6pm) and Icon College, E1 1EG (Weds - Sat, 11am - 6pm).

Our vaccination bus is also on the road again this week, stopping at Arbour Square in Stepney Green on 20 January from 11am - 5pm, then Devon's Estate, E3 3NR on Friday 21 January, 11am - 5pm. It's never been easier to get your next vaccination.

Thank you for reading, please do keep an eye on this page for regular updates and stay safe.

Dr Somen Banerjee
Director of Public Health

If you are interested in further updates, weekly webinars and becoming involved in our response to COVID-19, please do join our COVID-19 Community Champions network. Find out how on our website.