Haringey coronavirus (COVID-19) updates
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has today announced new UK restrictions in the fight against coronavirus.
Speaking in the House of Commons, he said the country has “reached a perilous turning point” and “this is the moment when we must act”.
The Prime Minister said that the government will ensure that schools, colleges and universities stay open, and that businesses can stay open in a Covid-compliant way. But he said we must “take action to suppress the disease”.
Changes announced today include:
- Asking office workers who can work from home to do so. In key public services – and in all professions where homeworking is not possible, such as construction or retail – people should continue to attend their workplaces.
- From Thursday all pubs, bars and restaurants must operate table-service only. Together with all hospitality venues, they must close at 10pm.
- Extending the requirement to wear face coverings to include staff in retail, all users of taxis and private hire vehicles, and staff and customers in indoor hospitality, except when seated at a table to eat or drink.
- In retail, leisure, tourism and other sectors, Covid-secure guidelines will become legal obligations. Businesses will be fined and could be closed if they breach these rules.
- From Monday, a maximum of 15 people will be able to attend wedding ceremonies and receptions. Though, up to 30 can still attend a funeral, as now.
- Extending the rule of six to all adult indoor team sports.
- Not reopening business conferences, exhibitions and large sporting events from 1 October.
The Prime Minister added that fines of up to £10,000 for those who fail to self-isolate will now also be applied to businesses breaking Covid rules.
The penalty for failing to wear a mask or breaking the rule of six will now double to £200 for a first offence.
He added that “unless we palpably make progress”, we should assume that the restrictions will remain in place for “perhaps six months”.
Read the speech on the government website (external link).
People on lower incomes who have lost wages because they have to self-isolate will be able apply for a £500 Government payment from September 28.
It will be available to those who have been told to stay indoors but cannot work from home and so have lost income as a result.
The new Test and Trace Support payment will be for those who either have Covid-19 or come into contact with someone who has and been told they must stay at home.
At the same time new fines for those breaching self-isolation rules will start at £1,000 – bringing this in line with the penalty for breaking quarantine after international travel.
However, the fines could increase to up to £10,000 for repeat offences and for the most blatant breaches, including for those preventing others from self-isolating.
This could include business owners who threaten self-isolating staff with redundancy if they do not come to work.
The Government says it is putting in place a number of measures to ensure that people follow the rules.
You can apply on the web by clicking here.
More details of the Test and Trace Support payment and the enforcement rules can be found here (external link).
More than 200 people a day could die in the UK due to Covid-19 by as early as mid-November unless we all act now, Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty has warned.
In a government press conference, Prof Whitty also said that there could be as many as 50,000 coronavirus cases per day next month.
He urged everyone to follow the guidance (social distancing, wearing a face covering in public, reducing contacts with others and washing your hands) even if they do not consider themselves vulnerable to the virus.
He said: "You cannot in an epidemic just take your own risk, unfortunately you’re taking a risk on behalf of everybody else. So, this is not someone else's problem, this is all of our problem.”
Prof Whitty said: “We have to break unnecessary links between households because that is the way in which this virus is transmitted.” And he warned the situation would get worse as we head into the colder months.
He added: “At this point the seasons are against us, we’re now going into the seasons – late autumn and winter – which benefit respiratory viruses, and it is very likely they will benefit Covid, as they do, for example, flu.”
He warned that Covid-19 cases “move up the age bands” to older people, who are more vulnerable to symptoms and said that the result of a spike in cases could see the NHS being “overwhelmed”.
At the briefing, Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance also said that Covid cases were currently doubling every seven days and that we all needed to act quickly to bring that down.
He said that only about 8% of the population have so far had the virus, and that the vast majority of us are not protected in any way and are susceptible to Covid-19.
He added that antibodies – which can protect against the virus if you’ve had it already – fade over time and that there have been cases of people becoming re-infected.
Last week Dr Will Maimaris, Haringey’s Director of Public Health, announced that there were an average of 10 new cases of Covid-19 a day in the borough and that rates were rising.
You can find Haringey’s weekly figures here.
To see the briefing slides on the government website (external link)
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