National Lockdown Information from Knowsley Council
Message from Mike Harden (Chief Executive)
As I am sure you know, the Prime Minister announced last night that England will once again go into a national lockdown with Government advice issued for people to “stay at home”.
The announcement follows a significant increase in virus cases across the country, which is also impacting on the NHS and hospital admissions. In addition, a new variant of COVID-19 is circulating – this was first identified in Kent and is now being found across the country. The new variant spreads more quickly and effectively.
Our figures have been increasing at a significant pace and action is needed in order to bring our rates down. In Knowsley, we have seen our rates significantly increase – as at 1 January 2021, our rate is 597.2 per 100,000 population, whereas, just one week earlier, our rate was 212.8 per 100,000 (on 24 December 2020).
As at 29 December 2020, more than 80,000 people nationally tested positive for COVID-19 and deaths have increased by 20% over the last week.
With most of the country already under extreme measures, these figures show that more needs to be done to prevent the impact of the virus whilst the vaccine is rolled out.
Stricter measures are therefore necessary to prevent the spread of the virus – the new national lockdown includes the following components:-
- People should stay at home unless shopping for essentials, working (if unable to work from home), exercising (not recreation), seeking medical assistance (such as getting a COVID-19 test) or escaping domestic abuse.
- Clinically extremely vulnerable residents should recommence “shielding” – people in this category will receive a letter about what this means for them.
- Primary and secondary schools and colleges across England will move to remote learning from tomorrow (5 January 2021), except for vulnerable children and the children of key workers who can still attend schools in person. Early Years settings can still be accessed. School restrictions will last until at least the February 2021 half-term break.
- It is not possible or fair for examinations to continue this summer, so the Department for Education will put alternative arrangements in place.
- Free school meals will continue.
- More devices will be provided to support remote education.
Running alongside the lockdown, the COVID vaccination programme is being rolled out across the UK. By mid-February 2021, the Government is aiming to have offered the first vaccine dose to the top four priority groups, i.e. all residents in care homes (adults and their carers), everyone over the age of 70, all front-line health and social care workers, and everyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable. When it’s your turn to have the vaccine, you will be contacted directly and offered an appointment.
The new restrictions will become law on Wednesday (6 January 2021) but should be followed with immediate effect. The full national lockdown restrictions can be found on the Government’s website.
Everyone is once again asked to play their part, follow the rules, and help to bring our infection rates down.