VISITORS to the Isle of Wight should test themselves twice a week to help keep the Island safe, the council member responsible for public health has said.

Cllr Karl Love, the Isle of Wight Council cabinet member responsible for public health, also thanked the Island community for how they have responded to the challenges of the pandemic so far.

"We know it's tough, but this will not faze us," was his message as the government delayed the final step of the coronavirus lockdown-easing roadmap by four weeks until July 19.

Cllr Love said the news was hugely disappointing and a bitter blow for local business and the Island's hospitality sector in particular.

However, he said it was crucial everyone stuck to the good behaviours they had learnt over the past year to kick the virus into touch and keep the Island safe.

He said: "I know everyone is feeling extremely disappointed right now but I am so proud of how Islanders have responded to the pandemic so far. This setback will not faze us.

"Over the past 15 months, the Island has pulled together and shown true community spirit. We must all keep on to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our Island.

"For our visitors, please make sure you pack face coverings, hand sanitiser and extra medication. You should also be testing yourself twice a week to help ensure you do not bring the virus to the Island."

The rise in cases in the UK is being driven by the Delta variant, first identified in India, which is more infectious than the previous dominant variant.

Yesterday's announcement means that limits remain on groups of people meeting, with groups of up to 30 allowed to meet outdoors and up to six people or two households allowed indoors.

But the 30-person cap for wedding ceremonies and receptions, as well as wakes, will be lifted from June 21.

Simon Bryant, the council's director of public health, added: "We can’t afford for cases to increase. That’s why, even when everyone wants to get back to normal, it’s more important than ever that we remember hands, face, space, fresh air.

"Running alongside these daily actions we need to get regular LFT tests when we don’t have symptoms, self-isolate and get tested immediately when we do, and take up the vaccine when it’s offered.

"Every single act of care and caution keeps the virus on the back foot and every time someone does those simple basic things they are playing their part in countering Covid. Please keep it up."