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Covid-19 – Latest News

19 January 2022

Here is a quick update following the latest change to testing for COVID.

The surge in Omicron cases has seen many people with positive lateral flow tests struggling to book a follow-up PCR to confirm the result. The UK has capacity for more than 800,000 daily lab tests but moved closer to its limit last month. It is hoped the change outlined below will improve access to PCR tests for people with symptoms and for healthcare, transport and other key workers required to test regularly.

Change in testing - 11 January 2022

People without COVID symptoms no longer need a PCR test to confirm a positive lateral flow in England. The change reflects the increasing number of coronavirus cases in the community and the accuracy of rapid tests.

If you have one of the three main COVID symptoms - high temperature, a new continuous cough and a loss or change to the sense of smell or taste, you should still have a PCR test.

COVID-19 Update - 10 December 2021

Here is a summary of COVID restrictions announced earlier this week. Following the increase in the spread of the new variant, Omicron, England has moved to Plan B as a precaution.

  • From Friday 10 December (today), the government has extended the legal requirement to wear a face covering to most public indoor venues, including theatres and cinemas. There will be exemptions in venues where it is not practical to wear one, such as when you are eating, drinking or exercising.
  • From Monday 13 December, those who can should work from home.
  • From Wednesday 15 December, (and subject to parliamentary approval) the NHS COVID Pass on the NHS App will become mandatory for entry into nightclubs and settings where large crowds gather.

This will include unseated indoor events with 500 or more attendees, unseated outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees and any event with 10,000 or more attendees.
People will be able to demonstrate proof of two vaccine doses via the app. Since the emergence of Omicron, proof of a negative lateral flow test will also be accepted.

Booster vaccines

People aged 40 and over can now pre-book a booster vaccine 2 months after their second dose. Book your booster vaccination appointment online or find a walk-in clinic. The NHS will contact you when you are eligible to book your booster dose.

New rules on self-isolation

If you’re a contact of someone who may have been infected with the Omicron variant, you must self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of your age, vaccination status or any negative test results.

A full list of the latest changes is available on Gov.uk website.

COVID-19 Update - New Variant

30 November 2021

Face coverings have become mandatory again on public transport and shops in England in an effort to slow the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

People arriving in the UK from abroad will now also have to take a PCR test and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.

It comes after several cases of the new variant were detected in the UK. Today, the government announced a major expansion of the booster jab rollout as part of efforts to help stop a potential wave of infections.

Booster jabs are to be offered to all over-18s in the UK, while children aged 12 to 15 will be invited for a second jab. There will be some prioritisation to ensure the vulnerable receive their top-up shots first.

You can get your booster shot at one of the walk-in centres (Robertson House) or you can visit the NHS website for more information.

17 July 2021

Take a look at the Step Four of the Recovery Plan

Now that restrictions have been lifted, there are still some guidelines that you can follow to remain safe from the virus.

Key highlights - Step 4 summary

What's changing in England on 19 July?

Social distancing

  • No limits on how many people can meet.
  • 1m-plus guidance removed (except in some places like hospitals and passport control when entering)
  • Face coverings no longer required by law, although the government still ‘expects and recommends’ them in crowded and enclosed spaces.
  • Some shops and transport operators will still require masks so please check before travelling.

Events and gatherings

  • Nightclubs can reopen
  • Pubs and restaurants no longer table-service only
  • No limits on guests at weddings and funerals
  • No limits on people attending concerts, theatres or sports events
  • No restrictions on communal worship

Travel

  • Guidance recommending against travel to amber list countries removed
  • Under-18s and fully vaccinated adults no longer have to self-isolate after visiting amber list countries

Other changes

Limits on visitors to care homes will be removed.

  • From 16 August, most COVID restrictions in schools - including ‘bubbles’ will end.
  • From 16 August, fully vaccinated adults will not need to self-isolate after contact with a positive case.

What guidance remains in place in England?

  • People should continue to meet others outside where possible.
  • Businesses such as nightclubs - and large events - will be encouraged to use the NHS COVID pass to check people are fully vaccinated. However, they won't legally have to do so.
  • People working from home will be encouraged to return to the workplace gradually.