ENGLAND HAS MOVED TO STEP 4 OF THE PRIME MINISTER'S ROADMAP OUT OF LOCKDOWN
HANDS, FACE, SPACE, FRESH AIR
Although most legal restrictions have been lifted at step 4, and many people have been vaccinated, it is still possible to catch and spread COVID-19, even if you are fully vaccinated, and we are still in the third wave of this pandemic in the UK.
COVID-19 will be a feature of our lives for the foreseeable future, so we need to learn to live with it and manage the risk to ourselves and others.
As COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, it is important that we all use personal judgement to manage our own risk. All of us can play our part by exercising common sense and considering the risks. While no situation is risk free, there are actions we can take to protect ourselves and others around us. Following this guidance will help you stay safe and protect others by controlling the spread. Every action to help reduce the spread will reduce any further resurgence of the virus in the coming months.
Most legal restrictions to control COVID-19 have been lifted at step 4. This means that:
- You do not need to stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with. There are also no limits on the number of people you can meet.
- However, in order to minimise risk at a time of high prevalence, you should limit the close contact you have with those you do not usually live with, and increase close contact gradually. This includes minimising the number, proximity and duration of social contacts.
- You should meet outdoors where possible and let fresh air into homes or other enclosed spaces.
- The Government is no longer instructing people to work from home if they can. However, the Government expects and recommends a gradual return over the summer.
- The requirement to wear face coverings in law has been lifted. However, the Government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport.
- There are no longer limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, civil partnerships, funerals and other life events (including receptions and celebrations). There is no requirement for table service at life events, or restrictions on singing or dancing. You should follow guidance for weddings and funerals to reduce risk and protect yourself and others.
- There are no longer restrictions on group sizes for attending communal worship. COVID-19 has not gone away, so it’s important to remember the actions you can take to keep yourself and others safe. Everybody needs to continue to act carefully and remain cautious.
If there's anything that I may be able to assist with, or if you have any queries, then please do not hesitate to contact me.
How serious is COVID-19?
Most people who get the virus have made a full recovery, but the virus can cause severe symptoms and death. This is particularly true those over 70 and for those with long term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.
The more people who become infected - the more our NHS will not cope - so you should take the government guidelines seriously and follow the rules.
What are the symptoms?
If you are infected you experience a range of symptoms but the main symptoms to look out for are:
- A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature).
- A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual).
- A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.
If you have symptoms:
- Don't call, or go to your GP surgery.
- Don't go to your local hospital.
Instead, GET A TEST - Information on testing is available on the NHS website here - or alternatively call 111.
As soon as you think you have symptoms, immediately self-isolate at home and get a test.
If you live with others - you should all isolate yourselves at home for 10 days (depending on a positive/negative test result).
If at-risk people share your home - such as those who are older and those with underlying health conditions - ideally they should move out, perhaps to stay with friends or family for the whole isolation period. If they can't move out, they must keep as much distance as possible from others in the home during this period. Use disinfectant to keep surfaces clean, wash hands and keep them away from your face.
How can you avoid getting and spreading the virus?
Scientists think the virus spreads via droplets from coughs and sneezes and we know it spreads easily and can stay on surfaces for a while. Follow the advice below to reduce your risk and the risk to others.
- Avoid non-essential contact with others - work from home if you can and don't socialising with others - if you do go out keep 6 feet (2metres) distance.
- Wash your hands - with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds. Do this before leaving home and after returning home, before eating and drinking, and after coughing or sneezing.
- Wear a face mask or covering - this is a legal requirement in all shops and whilst using public transport.
- Download the NHS Track and Trace App - available on Apple, Google or Android smartphones.
- Cover your mouth and nose - with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze - tissue in the bin and wash, or disinfect, your hands immediately.
- Don't touch your face - especially your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean surfaces - disinfect surfaces around you - especially mobiles, computers, keyboards, worktops, desks, handles.