Coronavirus

Stay Alert, Control the Virus, Save Lives - Updated 09.07.20

Latest message from Andy:

Coronavirus is the biggest challenge the UK has faced in decades – and we are not alone. All over the world we are seeing the devastating impact of this disease. It threatens to take both our way of life and our loved ones from us.

That’s why the Government put in place strict social distancing – to slow the spread of the virus so the NHS would not be overwhelmed, and lives could be saved. And thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of the British people, and despite a tragic loss of life, the UK slowed the spread of Coronavirus.

Our health system was not overwhelmed – with spare beds, ventilators, and hospital capacity at all times. But now we must begin to recover and eventually restore our way of life. The Government’s objective is to return to our way of life as soon as possible – focusing on not just saving lives, but also livelihoods. However, it is absolutely vital that as we do so, we avoid the risk of a second peak that overwhelms the NHS. And importantly doesn’t waste the huge sacrifices the British people have made in lockdown to get the virus under control.

Please also take a minute to fill out my Coronavirus recovery survey here

Further measures to ease the lockdown

  • The 2m social distance is to be changed to 1m from July 4. Experts are now conducting a review so that we can start to reopen further parts of the economy. Where it is not possible to keep 2m apart we will ask people to keep a social distance of 1m plus. Guidance will be published shortly for businesses to be able to take the necessary steps.
  • Two households of any size can now meet inside or out. There will be no size limits imposed on either side. But, you should continue to observe one-metre social distancing guidelines when meeting. There will also be no ban on meeting other households at different times, meaning grandparents will not have to choose between different grandchildren. Families will also be able to meet up with different friends consecutively.
  • Pubs and restaurants will now be able to reopen. Names and contact details of customers will be taken by businesses however, in case customers have to be contacted as part of the test and trace programme to contain the spread of the virus.
  • Places of worship can also now fully reopen.
  • Museums, cinemas and leisure activities. Leisure facilities and tourists attractions will reopen if they can do so safely, including museums, cinemas, galleries, theme parks, libraries, social clubs and community centres. People will be able to stay overnight as long as shared facilities are kept clean in places like BNBs and campsites. Changing rooms and sports courts will remain closed and people should only play close-contact sports with members of their households.
  • Indoor gyms, swimming pools, nightclubs, casinos, tattoo parlours and nail bars will not be able to reopen.
  • Households containing one adult (including those with children under 18) can join another household to form a 'bubble' to act as if they live within the same household. This means they can spend time together inside, and do not need to stay 2m apart. These bubbles must be exclusive, meaning you cannot switch the bubble you are within, or mix with multiple households. If any member of the support bubble develops symptoms, all members of the bubble will need to follow the normal advice and self-isolate. This does not apply to those who are shielding, however, more details will be unveiled next week about the arrangements in place for those shielding beyond the end of June. 
  • Zoos, safari parks, and outdoor attractions such as drive-in cinemas can open with social distancing in place.

Testing

Testing is the key to unlock the puzzle of coronavirus, and will be how we defeat it in the end, and thanks to the ordinary efforts of those who have worked tirelessly to increase capacity, we met our target of 100,000 tests a day by the end of April.

The new NHS Test and Trace programme will ensure we keep making progress in easing the lockdown while continuing to keep the virus under control.

  • Our five-part strategy is significantly increasing testing, meaning that testing has now been expanded to anyone over the age of 5, if they have symptoms, and all NHS and social care staff and care home residents, regardless of whether they are showing symptoms.
  • This new expansion of testing, made possible due to rapidly increasing testing capacity, will help protect our most vulnerable, our healthcare staff and keep people safe.

The Government has expanded testing so that anyone with symptoms can now get tested for Coronavirus – as we continue to scale up our capacity.

  • From now, anyone aged 5 and above with symptoms of Coronavirus, which will now include anosmia, is eligible for a test. If you are experiencing a loss of sense of smell or taste, a new, continuous cough, or a high temperature, you can book a test online by visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus
     
  • After doubling lab capacity, setting up 50 regional test centres and 116 mobile testing units, and introducing home testing kits and 3 Lighthouse laboratories, the UK’s testing capacity continues to scale up towards 200,000 a day.
     
  • These extra tests will help slow the spread of the virus, allow key workers to return to work safely, and give healthy people the peace of mind they need. 

The global search for a vaccine

The Business Secretary has announced an additional £84 million to support scientists working to find a coronavirus vaccine, meaning up to 30 million doses could be available in the UK by September, if trials are successful.

  • Scientists in the UK are at the forefront of the development of a vaccine for coronavirus, and yesterday we announced that the new Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre will open 12 months early.
     
  • We will provide £65.5 million to support the vaccine being developed at Oxford University, and £18.5 million for Imperial College London, as trials accelerate. If the Oxford University vaccine is found to be successful, UK-based AstraZeneca will work to make 30 million doses available by September for people in the UK, as part of an agreement to deliver 100 million doses in total.
     
  • Whilst we have to be realistic that a vaccine may take more time, and indeed, could never come to fruition, it is absolutely right that we are prepared to manufacture a vaccine at pace in this country, as we continue to lead the global response in the fight against coronavirus.

Attachments

Attachment Size
COVID-19 Newsletter 3.49 MB