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UPDATED LOCKDOWN RULES
Tonight, the Prime Minister announced that we are to enter another national lockdown. This is not what any of us want, but sadly it is necessary to protect the NHS and give our healthcare workers the breathing space to get through this. The new variant of the virus spreads even more quickly, so we have seen the numbers of COVID patients in hospitals climbing rapidly - including here in County Durham - as well as the number of deaths. We must get this under control.
The new guidance is very similar to that of March, and I have outlined the key points below:
You should only go out for the following reasons:
- Shopping for essential items
- Employment if you cannot work from home
- Seeking medical assistance, such as getting a test or a vaccine
- To escape domestic abuse
- Those who have previously been told to shield should do so once again
- Early year settings, such as nurseries, will still be accessible for childcare
- Alternative arrangements are being discussed for summer exams by the Education Secretary and Ofqual
- Extra support will be provided for students on free schools meals
More devices will be distributed to schools and education settings to support home education
For further detail on the national lockdown guidance click here.
The major difference in this lockdown is that we have a clear way out, and the Prime Minister made that clear this evening.
We are rolling out the vaccine, with over 1 million doses administer already - more than in the rest of Europe combined - and the roll out of the Oxford vaccine started today.
By the middle of February, we are strongly aiming for everyone in the 4 top priority groups to be vaccinated - 13.5 million people.
- All care home residents and their carers
- Those over 70
- All frontline health and social care workers
- Everyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable
With the most vulnerable vaccinated, this will enable us to start lifting many of the restrictions we have in place, and get back to some sort of normal.
This is all dependent on our understanding of the virus staying the same, the roll out of the vaccine being successful, and the number of deaths starting to fall.
Believe me, I know how difficult this is. It is going to be a tough few weeks ahead. But now we really must come together and play our part, stick to the rules, and give our NHS the best chance of getting through this.
The sooner we get cases down, alongside getting the vaccine out, the sooner we can start to return to the normality we all crave.
Stay strong, everyone and, as ever, please email me on email@example.com if you have any specific questions.