The director of public heath in Bexley has issued a statement asking schools in the borough to continue enforcing coronavirus safety measures, despite the milestone 'Freedom Day' on Monday.

Dr Anjan Ghosh has invited all schools in Bexley to continue with their current Covid control arrangements until the end of term, less than a week away for most, in order to try and keep virus cases from rising.

In a letter addressed to headteachers across the borough, Dr Ghosh argued that Covid-19 case rates are currently rising exponentially, particularly among young people.

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July 19, aka freedom day, saw the end of over a year of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, with mask requirements, social distancing and restrictions on venues such as theatres and nightclub all now scrapped.

However, the celebrations have been somewhat marred by a soaring number of infections, possible supermarket shortages and a wave of self-isolation pings affecting hundreds of thousands in the country, including the Prime Minister.

Pubs, restaurants and supermarkets have been forced to close due to the 'pingdemic' after workers were told to self-isolate by the NHS App, whilst schools have also been affected.

In Dr Anjan Ghost's letter, he invited schools to continue enforcing their Covid-19 control measures until the end of term, despite the Government announcement that the legal enforcement of most of these has now ended.

He said he was conscious that some parents will inevitably be disappointed if their children is still isolating or is later asked to isolate as part of a bubble.

But with case rates "continuing to rise exponentially", it is simpler and safer to enforce the current rules such as using a whole bubble closure in the case of schools instead of relying on Test and Trace.

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"It seems to me to be unrealistic to expect schools pupils to be able to accurately recall who have been their close contacts during their infectious periods."

In September, Dr Ghosh said he expects Bexley Council to follow national procedures, with this local approach only recommended for the short period before term ends, which for most schools is at some point this week.

The doctor also took the time to thank the headteachers and their teams for the "exemplary" work they have done and continue to do to help reduce transmission of Covid-19.