In May we continued our path along roadmap out of lockdown to step 3, seeing the most significant easing of restrictions so far, while there was also great progress with the vaccination program stepping up to combat the rise of a new Covid variant.
Easing of Lockdown Restrictions – Step three Completed
The major news this month was the country’s move to Step 3 of the roadmap out of lockdown, coming into effect on 17th May. This meant that most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors has been lifted - although gatherings of over 30 people remain illegal. Indoors, the Rule of 6 or 2 households apply, giving people more responsibility to decide on the appropriate level of risk for their circumstances.
Most businesses in all but the highest risk sectors are now able to reopen, though in all sectors COVID-Secure guidance will remain in place and businesses may not cater for groups bigger than the legal limits. Indoor hospitality will reopen, including pubs and restaurants which I am sure many people have been enjoying!
Other indoor locations that have reopened include indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas, the accommodation sector – including hotels, hostels and B&Bs – as well as indoor sports and exercise classes. Up to 30 people can now attend weddings, receptions and wakes, as well as funerals.
Finally, before Step 4 begins, the government will complete a review of social distancing and other long-term measures that have been put in place to cut transmission. This will inform decisions on the timing and circumstances under which the rules on 1 metre plus, the wearing of face coverings and other measures may be lifted. This will also inform guidance on working from home – which should continue wherever possible until at least this review is complete.
New Covid Variant in Harrow
As you may be aware, the new variant of Covid-19 is spreading in the UK, with some areas of the country significantly more affected, including north west London.
Surge testing is now taking place in Harrow with all secondary schools and colleges in Harrow to take part in the programme of enhanced testing. This is in addition to the testing you are already doing.
The programme of enhanced testing is primarily focusing on the school population, because the data shows that the variant is spreading most quickly among this group. This is believed to be because the majority of young people are unvaccinated and have significant close social contact with one another. As well as the school-based testing, anyone else that is concerned can access a PCR test at any of the testing centres in Harrow. If you test positive, remember that you must self-isolate to prevent Covid-19 spreading to others.
Vaccinations are also being ramped up as quickly as possible and everyone is that is eligible is being encouraged to get their vaccination as soon as possible. Vaccination is the best defence against Covid-19, with the current vaccines shown to be very effective against known variants of the disease.
We have hit some great milestones this month, with well over 70% of the country’s adult population now vaccinated with at least one dose already. Locally, over 55,000 people have received a vaccine in the constituency, showing great uptake amongst those who have been offered a jab.
So that we can carry on down the roadmap and eliminate restrictions as planned, please ensure to book and attend your appointment when you are eligible to do so. It is only by vaccinating as many people as possible that we can defeat the virus and continue to ease the lockdown.
If you are unsure whether you are eligible or how to book, make sure to check the NHS website here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-vaccine/
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