The Prime Minister has announced that the Covid-19 virus is now more present in the UK and so the unlocking of society is to slow down. Read on for more.
WHAT’S THE VIRUS DOING?
The big change is that the Office for National Statistics says that the number of people in the UK with Covid-19 is now going up. The ONS test a lot of people every week whether they show symptoms or not, and it is this big sample which is showing an increase in the number of people infected with Covid-19. Nationally, the number of people infected with Covid-19 is now around 1 in every 1500 people, up from 1 in 2000 people last week. That’s a rise of 25% or a quarter. Put another way, the virus infection rate is around the same as it was in the middle of June. So, the last month’s decrease in infections has been wiped out and the trend now seems to be upwards again.
The Government say that their own figures, from Public Health England, show that the number of people testing positive for Covid-19, dying from Covid-19 and in hospital with Covid-19 are still going down. However, they are acting on the ONS figures.
On 1 August, the Government had said that remaining businesses in England which were closed could re-open, such as theatres, cinemas, bowling alleys, tattoo parlours, etc. This won’t now happen, and they will need to stay closed until at least 15 August.
From 8 August, the Government is also making face coverings and face masks compulsory in leisure destinations such as museums. They will still not be compulsory in pubs and restaurants, though.
The Government also say that the restriction on meeting people in your own homes introduced in some northern areas will continue.
Despite accepting that infection rates are rising and that it is becoming more risky to mix with other people, the Government say they will still end shielding on 1 August as planned. Employers will also still be able to require employees to come back to work from 1 August, including shielding or self-isolating people. BuDS thinks this is the wrong decision and we will be publishing our own advice later today or Saturday. Remember, you can make up your own mind about ending shielding – if you aren’t happy to stop, you don’t have to.
BuDS’ research team will be looking carefully at the announcements, checking facts, and we’ll be publishing more updates very soon.