Coronavirus Advice

This page has been designed to provide up-to-date information, guidance and advice with regards to Coronavirus (COVID-19).

In the event of an emergency, please call 999. Medical help is also available via the 111 online service if you have a problem and are unsure what to do. 

Please use the link below for the latest information from the Government about the Coronavirus: 

If you are a constituent, and you have any concerns yourself, or about others, please email julian.smith.mp@parliament.uk

June 2021:

Since the start of the pandemic, my team and I have worked flat out to help constituents – and will continue to do everything possible as we progress along the roadmap. As the restrictions ease further, I have started to visit more businesses as they have reopened and I would also encourage people to safely take up the new freedoms to support businesses, particularly those in the hospitality industry which has been one of the hardest hit sectors during the pandemic. 

More than 40 million people in the UK have now been vaccinated by our brilliant NHS. Thanks to people abiding by the lockdown restrictions, alongside the success of the vaccination rollout and falling infections and hospitalisations, we are progressing along the roadmap for a safe and gradual lifting of restrictions.   

The roadmap sets out four stages for the easing of restrictions. At every stage, the government’s decisions will be led by data not dates, and subjected to four key tests:

  • The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully;
  • That evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths;
  • That infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS;
  • Our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new variants of Covid that cause concern.

There will be five weeks between each step to account for the time needed for data which will reflect the impact relaxations in restrictions will have and to give the country one week’s notice before any change. 

On the 17th May, we took another step forward towards a greater sense of normality. As we continue to meet the four tests, the Government has made the following changes:

  • Gathering limits have been eased. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 30 people and indoor gatherings are limited to 6 people or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible).
  •  New guidance on meeting friends and family emphasises personal responsibility rather than government rules. Instead of instructing you to stay 2m apart from anyone you don’t live with, you are encouraged to exercise caution and consider the guidance on risks associated with COVID-19 and actions you can take to help keep you and your loved ones safe. Remember that the risks of close contact may be greater for some people than others and in some settings and circumstances, there will be specific guidance that you will need to follow even when you are with friends and family.
  • Indoor entertainment and attractions such as cinemas, theatres, concert halls, bowling alleys, casinos, amusement arcades, museums and children’s indoor play areas are permitted to open with COVID-secure measures in place.
  • People can attend indoor and outdoor events, including live performances, sporting events and business events. Attendance at these events is capped according to venue type, and attendees should follow the COVID-secure measures set out by those venues.
  • Indoor hospitality venues such as restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes can reopen.
  • Organised indoor sport can take place for all. This includes gym classes. It must be organised by a business, charity or public body and the organiser must take reasonable measures to reduce the risk of transmission.
  • All holiday accommodation can open, including hotels and B&Bs. This can be used by groups of up to 6 or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible).
  • Funeral attendance is no longer be limited to 30 people, but will be determined by how many people the COVID-secure venue can safely accommodate with social distancing. Limits at weddings, wakes and other commemorative events have been increased to 30 people. Other significant life events, such as bar/bat mitzvahs and christenings, will also be able to take place with 30 people.
  • The rules for care home residents visiting out and receiving visitors have changed, allowing up to five named visitors (two at any one time), provided visitors test negative for COVID-19.
  • All higher education students are able to access in-person teaching.
  • Support groups and parent and child group gathering limits have been increased to 30 people (not including under 5s).
  • There is no longer a legal restriction or permitted reason required to travel internationally. A traffic light system for international travel has been introduced, and you must follow the rules when returning to England depending on whether you return from a red, amber or green list country.   

For further information about the current lockdown rules, please use the beneath link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home

Details of the further stages of the plan are available at: 

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/963491/COVID-19_Response_-_Spring_2021.pdf

Over the last year, many people here in our community have joined the millions across the world who have died or become seriously unwell as a result of the virus – and if you have lost someone close to you, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

Our NHS has done outstanding work during this pandemic – and our country owes an enormous debt of gratitude to health and social care professionals. Their commitment and resolve in the toughest of circumstances has been absolutely inspiring.

I am incredibly proud of all the key workers who have ensured that we continue to see food on supermarket shelves, packages delivered and urgent repairs made along with those doing extremely important work in the social services and emergency services. I also know that parents are grateful to teachers who have ensured our children keep learning and that disruption has been minimised as much as possible. 

Neighbours and local support networks have also done so much to support those who are vulnerable or in need during this period. The way that local communities across my constituency have pulled together is amazing. 

I would encourage everyone to:

1. Check your symptoms: 

If you are feeling unwell and believe you are suffering symptoms please see the link below. 

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms/

2. Follow the governments guidance and self-isolate if necessary:

Given the increased risk of transmitting COVID-19, you should take particular caution when meeting anyone outside your household or support bubble. This will keep yourself and others safe. In particular, wherever possible, you should try to:

  • Meet outside rather than inside where possible
  • Try to keep 2 metres apart from people that you don’t live with (unless you have formed a support bubble with them), this includes friends and family you don’t live with
  • Get tested twice a week for free and isolate if you are positive
  • Continue to work from home if you can

Everyone should follow the government’s social distancing guidelines and stay 2 meters apart. If you live with someone who has symptoms or tested positive, you should self-isolate for ten days. If you have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, or the NHS COVID-19 app, you should self-isolate for ten days. If you have symptoms or tested positive, you should self-isolate for at least ten days, and then continue self-isolating if you have a high temperature or feel hot and shivery, have a runny nose or sneezing, feel sick or are being sick, or have diarrhoea.

If you are self-isolating because of Coronavirus and you cannot work from home you may be eligible for a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment. You should apply for this payment thorough your local council. For more details please see the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/test-and-trace-support-payment

3. Get the vaccine: 

I am delighted that four vaccines, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine, the Moderna vaccine and the Janssen vaccine (which will be available later this year), have now been approved for use in the UK. If you are invited to receive a COVID-19 vaccine I would encourage you to do so.

The vaccine roll-out along with recent developments in testing and medical treatments have meant that we will – going forward into the summer – be able to rely less on economic and social restrictions and more on scientific solutions.

More than 40 million people in the UK have now received the Coronavirus vaccine. I understand a number of constituents have concerns about being called to be vaccinated. The JCVI have set out the vaccine priority list, details of which can be found below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/priority-groups-for-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-advice-from-the-jcvi-30-december-2020

You can now book your vaccination appointments online if:

  • you are aged 18 or over
  • you are at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable)
  • you are an eligible frontline health or social care worker
  • you have a condition that puts you at higher risk (clinically vulnerable)
  • you have a learning disability
  • you are a main carer for someone at high risk from coronavirus

If you are eligible, you can book your Covid-19 vaccine by using the link below:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/

4. Check to see if your business is eligible for support:

All businesses have been impacted by the Coronavirus, I realise that some have been impacted more than others. 

Business Support Helpline: 

5. Contact my office:

If you are unsure about what support might be available, please do not hesitate to contact my office at julian.smith.mp@parliament.uk.