New National Lockdown
COVID-19 case numbers are rising rapidly across the whole of the UK and in other countries. We must act now to control the spread of the virus. The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home, to protect the NHS and save lives.
When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection. That is why, from Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December, the Government is taking the following action:
- Requiring people to stay at home, except for specific purposes.
- Preventing gathering with people you do not live with, except for specific purposes.
- Closing certain businesses and venues.
These new measures have been carefully judged to achieve the maximum reduction in growth in the number of cases, preventing the NHS from being overwhelmed, whilst ensuring that schools, colleges and universities stay open and that as many people as possible continue to work.
Until Thursday 5 November, the relevant Local Covid Alert Level measures will continue to apply in the area where you live. From Thursday the national restrictions replace the local restrictions in your area. No new areas will move in the LCAL Very High restrictions between now and Thursday.
The new measures will apply nationally for four weeks up to Wednesday 2 December. At the end of the period, we will look to return to a regional approach, based on the latest data.
Complying with the new measures will help limit the spread of coronavirus, reduce the impact on the NHS and save lives. They will be underpinned by law which will make clear about what you must and must not do from 5 November. The relevant authorities, including the police, will have powers to enforce the law – including through fines and dispersing gatherings.
Workers in any part of the UK can retain their job, even if their employer cannot afford to pay them, and be paid at least 80% of their salary up to £2500 a month.
The flexibility of the current CJRS will be retained to allow employees to continue to work where they can.
Employers small or large, charitable or non-profit are eligible and because more businesses will need to close, they will now be asked to pay just National Insurance and Pensions contributions for their staff during the month of November – making this more generous than support currently on offer.
The Job Support Scheme will not be introduced until after Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends Wherever you live, you may be able to get financial help through the:
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- Job Support Scheme (from 1st November)
- New Style Employment and Support Allowance
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 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.