People living and working across Oldham have been asked to continue to wear face coverings, get vaccinated and keep getting tested now that coronavirus restrictions have been eased in England.
Monday (19 July) saw step four of coronavirus guidance implemented – which effectively meant the lifting of the majority of legal restrictions.
Meanwhile, there is a continued rise in coronavirus cases in Oldham. The borough's rate - which now stands at 640 per 100,000, up from 583 in the previous week - is the highest in Greater Manchester and significantly higher than the UK average.
While positive case numbers remain highest amongst secondary school age children and the working-aged population, there are cases in all age groups.
Cllr Arooj Shah, Leader of Oldham Council, has urged people to be cautious, and to keep protecting themselves and others.
She said: “We can’t blow it now. Even though it won’t be law to wear face coverings in public places, and to socially distance, I’m urging Oldhamers to continue to do so after 19 July, to keep yourselves and others safe.
“Coronavirus rates here are high, and rising. We are seeing increases in all age groups and in all areas of the borough. Now is not the time to abandon hands, face, space.
“It’s also so important that everyone takes up the vaccination when it is offered; gets tested regularly; and self-isolates when asked to. There are walk-in vaccination clinics every day here in Oldham and it couldn’t be easier to get the jab which we know is saving lives and stopping people becoming seriously ill.
“People in Oldham have pulled together as a community throughout this pandemic. We’ve worked so hard to look after each other. It’s crucial we don’t stop now.”
Walk-in vaccination clinics are being held every day across Oldham, to make it as easy as possible for everyone to get protected against the virus.
Clinics can be attended by all those aged over 18 to receive either their first-dose Pfizer vaccination, or their second dose if it is at least eight weeks since their first dose.
The regular walk-in clinics are taking place at The Royal Oldham Hospital every day; at the Millennium Centre in Featherstall Road North, every Wednesday from 10am to 8pm; and at the European Islamic Centre in Manchester Road, every Sunday from 10am to 8pm.
There will also be an additional walk-in clinic in the town centre from 9.30am to 5.30pm on Saturday 24 July, running in Parliament Square to coincide with Festival Oldham and Pride celebrations.
In total across the borough, there have now been 145,084 – or 74 per cent - of Oldham’s registered population aged 18 or over vaccinated with their first dose, and 112,318 – or 58 per cent - of the registered population aged 18 or over vaccinated with their second dose.
People can also book an appointment for a coronavirus vaccination online through the national online booking system, where they may be offered an appointment at the Royal Oldham Hospital; at an Oldham community pharmacy site, or at the Etihad campus in Manchester.