“The Prime Minister announced last night that England will be going into lockdown to contain the dangerous increase in coronavirus cases and deaths. A more transmissible new variant of the virus is largely responsible for the spike in cases and it is necessary to enter a national lockdown broadly similar to the first lockdown last March. These are difficult judgements for Governments to take and not what any of us want, but having received briefings from Ministers and clinicians in the Health Department and our local NHS leaders, I firmly believe we need to do this to combat the spread of the virus. The statistics in the NHS are alarming and we need to take drastic action to protect the NHS and save lives.
Unfortunately, this has meant that schools have been instructed to move to remote provision from today, except for vulnerable children and the children of key workers. Everyone will still be able to access early years settings such as nurseries.
Full details on the updated lockdown rules can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home.
Amongst this difficult news however we can still see some positives as the NHS are rolling out the vaccine, with over 1 million doses administered already and the roll out of the Oxford vaccine starting yesterday.
By the middle of February, and all being well, the Government is aiming for everyone in the 4 top priority groups to be vaccinated, which is around 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
Once these most vulnerable groups have been vaccinated, as the Prime Minister made clear last night, we can start to lift the restrictions on our daily lives. It is so important now that we all play our part in helping combat the virus by following these public health guidelines closely.
Realising the difficulties that individuals and businesses will face, the Chancellor has today announced additional grants for closed retail, hospitality and leisure businesses. This is on top of Discretionary grants, the furlough scheme extended until April, Government-backed loans and 100% business rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure. Please view the following link to see if you are entitled to business support: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support.”