Monday, 23 November 2020

Covid-19 Winter Plan

The Prime Minister has updated the House of Commons on the Government's next steps of tackling the virus over the winter period. The current National Restrictions in place will end on Wednesday 2nd December.

This morning's announcement of positive stage 3 trials of the Oxford - Astra Zeneca vaccine is yet more news that science is delivering hope of normality resuming in the not so distant future. However, Coronavirus rates remain high in Northumberland so it is vital we follow the latest rules to continue stopping the virus from rising. SAGE estimates our current R is between 1.0-1.1, with infection rates remaining high in many areas across the North East.

The Prime Minister has set out a new strengthened 3 tier system, which will replace the National Restrictions on 2nd December. Due to Ministers closely scrutinising the latest data, the government will announce which areas each tier will apply to on Thursday this week. 

The following restrictions will apply from 2nd December:

Meeting friends and family




Bars, pubs and restaurants








Overnight stays and accommodation 




Work, businesses, education and places of worship 




Weddings and funerals








Indoor leisure and large events - Elite Sport, Live Performances & business



Stronger measures have been introduced to keep the virus under control.

  • In tier 1, the government will reinforce the importance of working from home wherever possible.
  • In tier 2, pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants, and hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals.
  • In tier 3, all hospitality will close except for delivery, takeaway and drive-through; hotels and other accommodation providers must close (except for specific exemptions, including people staying for work purposes or where they cannot return home); and indoor entertainment and tourist venues must also close.

The Government has set out its Covid -19 Winter Plan in full. You can read this here

The Prime Minister also announced that Tier 3 areas will be supported with the roll out of mass testing to drive the virus down. This follows the successful pilot in Liverpool, where the virus has been rapidly in decline after 200,000 asymptomatic people being tested in the city to date. 

Additionally, to further prevent the risk of infections entering care homes, the Government is working with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the NHS to ensure everyone discharged to a care home has an up-to-date COVID-19 test result, and anyone testing positive will be discharged to a setting that has been assured by the CQC specifically for the purposes of providing safe care for COVID-19 positive residents. Moreover, two care home visitors per resident will be entitled to repeat rapid testing to allow vital care home visits to continue safely.