WE MUST all work together to keep Covid numbers down this winter.

That was the message from Swindon's health chief on a Facebook Q&A session.

The borough council’s director of public health Steve Maddern said the authority will have to deal with the “added complications of Covid” as well as other winter illnesses.

He said: “Winter is always on our agenda. We have a long history of preparing for winter and we do that by engaging with many organisations across Swindon to make sure all organisations are prepared.

“Usually, our main concerns tend to be flu, this year we have the added complications of Covid.

“So we very much need to work closely together to keep the case number low in regard to Covid, to protect vulnerable people and the community, to make sure our services are ready and can cope with any additional capacity that they need to have during the winter time.”

Mr Maddern is encouraging people in Swindon to get the flu vaccine.

He said “It’s really important to highlight that flu is amongst us this season as will Covid, so it’s more important than ever to stress that if you are eligible for you flu vaccine, then I strongly encourage you to get vaccinated.

“Not only does it protect you, but those around you.”

He revealed that the government will be launching a national winter plan to provide extra support and guidance to local areas to manage Covid-19 and other winter illnesses.

Mr Maddern added: “In autumn we start to see the winter cough and cold settle in. It’s really important to highlight that sometimes it’s really difficult to differentiate between certain conditions like cold, flu and Covid.

“The key thing here is if you are experiencing any of this, it’s probably not best to go to work or go out to your community. But if you feel like you’re experiencing any of the Covid-related symptoms, it’s important that you self-isolate for testing.”

He reminded people that UK government’s Covid contact-tracing app launches in England and Wales on September 24.

It will allow users to scan a QR code displayed in restaurants, cafes, bars and other places across the UK.