I am writing to you with a further update about the Covid pandemic.
I know that there are strong views on both sides of the argument about the new restrictions, but for the purposes of this message I thought it just helpful to explain what is now required.
There are three major changes in effect from now for the next few weeks.
- Face coverings are required by law in most indoor settings outside the home. This does not apply to hospitality settings where you are eating or drinking.
- People who can work from home are now being asked to do so.
- From today, certain venues and events will be required by law to check that all visitors aged 18 years or over are fully vaccinated, have proof of a negative test in the last 48 hours, or have an exemption. This includes nightclubs and big sporting and entertainment events.
The self-isolation requirements have also changed. If you test positive for Covid you are still required to isolate for a period of ten days, even if you do not have symptoms. But if you live with or come into contact with someone who tests positive, you do not have to isolate but are instead asked to take a daily lateral flow test to continue to check that you are not positive yourself.
Travel to Africa
For those seeking to travel to parts of Africa, the system of hotel quarantine has now been scrapped. Everyone travelling abroad is still required to take a lateral flow or PCR test before their return to the UK, and is required to take a PCR test on their return and to isolate until they get the (hopefully negative) result. You then only need to carry on isolating if the test is positive.
All the latest details and guidance can be found here.
Lateral Flow Tests
I know that there have been some issues locally with the supply of home tests. I have spoken to local pharmacists and ministers about this, and there is no overall shortage of the tests, though the sudden increase in demand means that there has been a problem getting the tests distributed quickly enough. Hopefully that is on the way to being resolved.
COVID-19 Booster Programme
Most people over the age of 50 have now had their booster jabs in our area, but the expansion of the booster programme to all other adults means a significant increase in the demand locally and it will take a bit of time for the local health service to get all of this sorted. I would like to extend my thanks to all of those involved in the programme and particularly to people who have come forward this week to volunteer to help accelerate the programme.
I will continue to provide updates as and when I have more information that I hope will be helpful to you.