UK moves into next phase of vaccine roll-out
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has published its final advice for phase two of the vaccination programme, setting out that the most effective way to minimise hospitalisations and deaths is to continue to prioritise people by age.
The JCVI has recommended that adults aged 18 to 49 are prioritised in descending age order as follows:
• all those aged 40 to 49 years
• all those aged 30 to 39 years
• all those aged 18 to 29 years
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has published its response to the final advice from JCVI and confirmed that all four parts of the UK will follow the recommended approach, with the understanding that age is assessed to be the strongest factor linked to mortality, morbidity and hospitalisations.
The Prime Minister has confirmed that all adults over 50, the clinically vulnerable and health and social care workers have now been offered a coronavirus vaccine, and that the UK is moving to the next phase of the vaccination programme.
New campaign urges public to get tested twice a week:
The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has launched a major public information campaign encouraging people to get into the habit of using lateral flow tests twice a week.
Everyone in England is able to access free, regular rapid coronavirus testing delivered through:
• a home ordering service
• workplace testing programmes, on-site or at home
• community testing
• collection at a local test site
• testing on-site at schools and colleges
• collection from participating pharmacies
The home ordering service can be accessed via this link:
Providing unpaid care
The Government has updated guidance for anyone who provides unpaid care for a friend or family member who cannot cope without their support, to reflect changes to national lockdown rules which came into effect on12 April 2021.
The update includes guidance for those under 25 (young carers and young adult carers) who provide care for someone due to them having a lifelong condition, illness, disability, serious injury, mental health condition or an addiction.
Guidance on working safely during coronavirus
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) updated the working safely guidance for close contact, hospitality and non-essential services.
The updates include additional information for different sectors on how coronavirus restrictions will be eased.
Guidance on accessing green spaces safely
Government has updated the guidance for using green spaces safely to reflect the new national restrictions that came into effect in England on 12 April 2021.
Members of the public can now meet in a group of six or a larger group of any size from up to two households (including their support bubbles, if eligible) outdoors.
Guidance on moving home
Government has updated guidance for people moving into homes in England, whether as owner-occupiers or as private or social renters, to reflect changes to national lockdown rules which came into effect on 12 April.
Guidance for businesses and venues in England
Guidance which sets out restrictions on certain businesses and venues in England to reflect changes to national lockdown rules.
Guidance for small marriages, civil partnerships and the safe use of places of worship and special religious services
The guidance for people planning to get married or form a civil partnership in England has also been updated to reflect changes to national lockdown rules along with the guidance for the safe use of places of worship and special religious services and gatherings.
COVID-19 enforcement powers for councils
The government updated the guidance for councils on enforcing COVID-secure regulations to reflect changes to the national lockdown rules which came into effect on 12 April.
Earlier this week, the Government also launched a service to carry out further visits to people who have a duty to quarantine following international travel. Those quarantining at home may be visited by staff employed on behalf of the NHS Test and Trace service.
NHS Test and Trace staff will not have any enforcement powers, however, a referral will be made to the police if they have a reason to believe that an individual may be breaching quarantine rules. Officers will consider enforcement action following further investigation.
Pay VAT deferred due to coronavirus (COVID-19)
Information has been added on penalties or interest that may be charged if you do not pay in full or make an arrangement to pay and how you may still be able to avoid these charges.
Consultation on staff COVID-19 vaccines in care homes with older adult residents
The Health Secretary, Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, has launched a five-week consultation on requiring care home providers, which care for older adults, to only deploy workers who have received their COVID-19 vaccination.
This will not include those who can provide evidence of a medical exemption from a COVID-19 vaccination.
Experts on the social care working group of SAGE advise that 80% of staff and 90% of residents need to be vaccinated to provide a minimum level of protection against outbreaks of COVID-19. Only 53% of older adult homes in England are currently meeting this threshold.
The consultation will help inform decision-making around how the change could be implemented and whether respondents think it will be beneficial. Staff, providers, residents and their families are being urged to take part to have their views heard with a final decision expected this summer.
Remaining university students to return to campus from step three of the roadmap
The Government has confirmed that all university students who have not yet returned to campus and in-person teaching will be able to do so from 17 May.
The timing aligns with step three of the government’s roadmap, where restrictions on social contact and indoor mixing will be further eased. Progression to step three of the roadmap will be dependent on a review of the latest data and the impact of step two on the four key tests.
Upon return, all students and staff are encouraged to take three supervised tests (three to five days apart) at an asymptomatic testing site on campus, where this is available. Students will also have access to home testing kits throughout the summer term through both the government’s offer of free rapid lateral flow devices tests twice a week and through the ‘University Collect’ service.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for people in England with animals
Advice for pet owners and livestock keepers on looking after the welfare of animals during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been updated with what you can and cannot do from 12 April. This advice applies to England only.
Everyone is reminded to follow the NHS advice – wash your hands; wear a face covering; keep social distancing and, as we will be spending more time indoors, let fresh air into your home to ventilate it.
The council is monitoring Government guidance daily and will be issuing communications to staff, members and the public regularly, so please watch our website, sign up for e-mail alerts or go to our social media channels to keep up to date with the latest information.