COVID-19 is an illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus.
The Government is updating official advice regularly, and I know my ministerial colleagues and others are working around the clock to ensure the public is protected.
I will continue to closely follow this issue and, where appropriate, provide further updates.
Government advice and response:
For the latest Government advice and information on how the UK is responding, including guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK and protecting older people and vulnerable people, please see: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
SOCIAL DISTANCING AND SUPPORT BUBBLES
Guidance on social distancing, self isolation and shielding for vulnerable people can be found at these links:
People can also form a support bubble which is a close support network between a household with only one adult or a household with one adult and one or more people who were under the age of 18 on 12 June 2020 in the home (known as a single-adult household) and one other household of any size.
Once you’re in a support bubble, you can think of yourself as being in a single household with people from the other household. It means you can have close contact with that household as if they were members of your own household.
Further guidance and details on this is found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/making-a-support-bubble-with-another-househ…
ROADMAP OUT OF LOCKDOWN
The government has announced a 4-week pause at Step 3. Step 3 restrictions remain in place, and you should follow the guidance on this page, which explains what you can and cannot do.
It is expected that England will move to Step 4 on 19 July, though the data will be reviewed after 2 weeks in case the risks have reduced. The government will continue to monitor the data and the move to Step 4 will be confirmed one week in advance.
For more information on the roadmap out of lockdown, and more details on all Steps, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021
Rules on what you can and cannot do can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-coronavirus-restrictions-what-you-…
There are some places where you must wear a face covering by law. In England, you must wear a face covering in some indoor settings, including:
- public transport
- taxis and private hire vehicles
- shops and supermarkets
- premises providing hospitality (bars, pubs, restaurants, cafes), except when seated at a table to eat or drink (see exemptions)
- post offices, banks, building societies, high-street solicitors and accountants, credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses
- estate and lettings agents
The full list of premises and details on face covering guidance and exemptions can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-…
Find out if you have coronavirus now
Anyone with coronavirus symptoms can get a test. Coronavirus symptoms are:
- a high temperature
- a new, continuous cough
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
Guidance on how to get a test to check if you have coronavirus can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test and https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing/get-tested-f…
Order coronavirus (COVID-19) rapid lateral flow tests
You can also order free packs of rapid lateral flow tests to be sent to your home.
You can only use this service if:
- you do not have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms
- you’re 11 or older
- you have not been told to self-isolate
- you cannot get tests from your work, school, college or university (ask them for rapid lateral flow tests)
Order these here: https://test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/order-lateral-flow-kits
TEST AND TRACE SERVICE
An overview of the NHS test and trace service, including what happens if you test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or have had close contact with someone who has tested positive can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works
The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine to people most at risk from coronavirus.
In England, the vaccine is being offered in some hospitals and pharmacies, at local centres run by GPs and at larger vaccination centres. More centres are opening all the time.
You can use this service to book a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination or manage your appointments
For more information on this visit the NHS Vaccine information page
For information about the vaccine roll-out locally, including where the vaccination sites are, and a list of FAQs, please visit the Healthier Together website.
If you are eligible, you can use this service to book your vaccination: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccinat…
To find out how to protect yourself and others, please consult the NHS website at:
If you have any concerns about your own health or symptoms, please call 111.
This online tool can also be useful to check if you have Coronavirus symptoms:
Updates from our local health services and guidance for visitors can be found at:
Local response and advice:
The latest advice from South Gloucestershire Council, including local response, and guidance for health professionals and clinicians, can be found at the South Gloucestershire Council Covid Information page
Further information for South Glos residents, including financial support they may be able to access, can be found here:
Information and support for businesses and employers from South Gloucestershire Council can be found at: https://beta.southglos.gov.uk/information-for-businesses-and-employers/
A Freephone number has been set up to provide priority support to those who do not have access to South Gloucestershire Council's website and have questions about local response to the outbreak, community groups, changes to key services or support for residents.
The number is 0800 953 7778
The line is open 08.45 to 17.00 Monday to Thursday and 08.45 to 16.30 Fridays
For more information on how to contact the Council at this time please also see: https://www.southglos.gov.uk//documents/Covid-19-Keeping-In-Touch.pdf
People aged over 70, pregnant people, and people with underlying health conditions are most at risk in this situation.
Citizens Advice have published useful advice and information on how coronavirus may affect you which can be found at:
Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire can also be contacted on 03444 111 444.
This service is available on Mondays to Fridays from 10am to 2pm.
Age UK South Gloucestershire can also be contacted on 01454 411707 and more information can be found at their website: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/southgloucestershire/
Asthma UK has a page with specific health advice which people with asthma may find useful, this can be found at:
Community support and help:
South Gloucestershire Council has now published a Community Information Pack aimed at Parish and Town Councils, Community and Voluntary Groups and the broader community, and includes useful resources and lists of key contacts and information. This can be found here:
The Council has also built a directory of the current help available, so people are able to check information on where and how people can volunteer or access help locally during this period. This information is being updated regularly and can be found at:
Support for individuals and businesses:
You can get coronavirus support for your business or if you’re self-employed, and find out how to keep your business and your employees safe.
Coronavirus (COVID‑19) support is available to employers and the self-employed, including sole traders and limited company directors. You may be eligible for loans, tax relief and cash grants, whether your business is open or closed. Check what support is available at: https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder
Full details can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has launched a dedicated business support helpline, where small business owners in England can get advice on how to minimise/cope with the impacts of coronavirus. The number is 0300 456 3565.
Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm.
You can also email email@example.com.
A dedicated helpline has been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities receive support with their tax affairs. Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559 or on 0800 024 1222
A business information campaign is also now live with updated info on business and self-employed support available at THIS LINK
For local and regional public transport information, please visit the Travelwest website, which also includes information on temporary changes to local bus services. This can be accessed at: https://travelwest.info/travel_update/coronavirus-travel-advice
For travel advice during the Coronavirus pandemic please visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus
There are no longer any restrictions on leaving England to travel internationally, however to protect public health in the UK and the vaccine rollout, you should not travel to countries or territories on the red or amber lists.
If you travel to one of these countries or territories, you should look at the rules in place at your destination and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice. You should do this even if you are returning to a place you’ve visited before.
Travelling to England from outside the UK
All visitors travelling to England are subject to the coronavirus restriction rules.
What you must do when you arrive in England from abroad depends on where you have been in the last 10 days before you arrive.
People planning to travel to England should follow the guidance on entering the UK.
More information is found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-coronavirus-restrictions-what-you-…