The Government launched yesterday (5 September 2021) a public consultation to make temporary outdoor measures introduced during the pandemic for high streets permanent. The public will now be able to give their views on the proposed reforms, so they can continue to benefit everyone in the future. The consultation closes at 11:45pm on 14 November 2021. (6 September)
The government accepts Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation's advice to offer a third COVID-19 vaccine to people with severely weakened immune systems. (2 September)
The Department of Health and Social Care is seeking volunteers to take part in a study at the forefront of new and emerging science and technology. Take 5 minutes of your time to submit your voice sounds and contribute to COVID-19 research to help explore how algorithms can use voice data, including cough recordings, to detect COVID-19. Anyone over the age of 18 who has had a COVID-19 test (lateral flow or PCR) within the past 72 hours can take part. You’ll need your NHS test barcode ID to take part. If you used an at-home test kit you must have registered your result online. If you’d like to take part in this study and have recently had an NHS COVID-19 test you should use your own laptop, desktop computer, smartphone or tablet to visit speakuptobeatcovid.uk. If your test was part of another study, see the ‘Already taking part in COVID-19 research’ section for more information. (2 September)
From 4am Monday 30 August Canada, Azores, Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania and Switzerland will move to the green list; and Montenegro and Thailand will move to the red list. (31 August)
The government has launched its back to school and college campaign to set out the experience that students can ‘get back to’ from September, with restrictions such as bubbles eased to allow a full return to sport, music, drama, science experiments and being with their friends. (31 August)
The government is launching a UK-wide antibody surveillance programme. The programme will offer antibody testing to adults in the UK who test positive. From Tuesday, anyone aged over 18 will be able to opt in to take part when booking a PCR test through NHS Test and Trace. Up to 8,000 people who opt in and then receive a positive PCR result will be sent two finger prick antibody tests to complete at home and send back to a lab for analysis. The data collected will help estimate the proportion of those who got COVID-19 despite developing antibodies as a result of having a vaccine or previously catching coronavirus. (23 August)
Find out how Access to work can provide practical and financial support to help you overcome barriers to starting or keeping a job if you have a disability or long term physical or mental health condition. (19 August)
Safer working principles and risk assessment for transport operators and organisations, and people who work in or from vehicles have been updated. (16 August)
If you’ve been contacted by NHS Test and Trace and told to self-isolate on or after 28 September 2020, you’re under a legal obligation to do so, and could be eligible for a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment. Find out who can claim the support and how to apply. (16 August)
Guidance to help organisations and groups understand how to safely and effectively involve volunteers during the pandemic has been updated. (16 August)
Find out what to do before and after you arrive in England if you’ve been in an amber list country the 10 days before you arrive. (13 August)
Stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection has been updated. (13 August)
From Monday 16 August, people who are double jabbed or aged under 18 no longer be legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case. The change was announced last month, as part of step 4 of the Government’s COVID-19 roadmap. (13 August)
Find out how to book a quarantine hotel and coronavirus (COVID-19) tests if you've been in a red list country in the 10 days before you arrive in England.
If you've been offered Kickstart Scheme funding, you can use these resources to show your support for the scheme.
Find out how to do a rapid lateral flow test for COVID-19 and report the results. Rapid tests are only for people who do not have symptoms of COVID-19.
Guidance covering what to do before and after you arrive in England if you’ve been in an amber list country in the 10 days before you arrive has been updated.
Guidance on how to get the NHS COVID Pass to demonstrate your coronavirus (COVID-19) status when travelling abroad and domestically at events and venues in England has been updated.
Guidance to help local authorities and partners to deliver activities supported through the Welcome Back Fund has been updated. This funding builds on the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund.
The guidance list of jobs that qualify for exemptions from quarantine, passenger locator form or COVID testing requirements has been updated.
Who does not need to go into managed quarantine on arrival in the UK because of a medical or compassionate reason, and how to apply for an exemption guidance is now available.
The UK government has today (5 August 2021) announced that from 4am Sunday 8 August, the fully vaccinated amber rules will apply to France - this move also simplifies the system to 3 categories. At the same time, Austria, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia will move to the green list. Bahrain, India, Qatar and UAE will move to amber list. Georgia, Mayotte, Mexico and Reunion will move to red list.
Following updated advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, young people aged 16-17 will be offered the opportunity to get COVID-19 vaccine.
Guidance has been published for students whose 90 day student visa vignette has expired. Read the guidance online.
The NHS COVID-19 app has been updated to notify fewer contacts to isolate, and the public are urged to continue using the app as changes made will result in fewer close contacts being advised to self-isolate.
Information has been added on quarantine and testing if a person has been in an amber list country (and has not been in or passed through a red list country, or France) in the 10 days before arriving in England. If the person has been fully vaccinated under the UK vaccination programme: they must book and take a COVID-19 travel test on or before Day 2 after they arrive (the day you arrive is day 0), and they do not have to quarantine on arrival
Guidance has been published on how equipment for temperature screening is regulated; the limitations of temperature screening for detecting COVID-19; and advice on buying and using these products.
Information on the NHS COVID Pass has been updated to reflect that proof of natural immunity shown by a positive PCR test can be used to demonstrate COVID-19 status when travelling abroad and those who received the Novavax vaccine as part of a formally approved vaccine trial, can now obtain the NHS COVID Pass.
The government has announced that from 4am 2 August, people who have been fully vaccinated in many European countries or the USA will not need to quarantine on arrival in England or take a Day 8 test, but still need to book and take a day 2 test. If a passenger has been in France in the 10 days before arriving in England, they must quarantine for 10 days after they arrive and take a COVID-19 test on or before Day 2 and on or after day 8, even if they are fully vaccinated. (29 July)
Finland has opened its borders to allow entry to passengers from the UK who have received a full course of an approved COVID-19 vaccine; or carry a valid certificate of having had the covid-19 virus less than six months prior to arrival. (29 July)
Following the latest review of COVID-19 support provided to areas in England, the government is deploying additional support to the seven local authorities across Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and County Durham, and five local authorities in the Tees Valley. The decision is based on the latest data and local insights and will provide targeted additional support to try and slow the growth of COVID-19 variants in the region. The support package includes the option to deliver extra testing in these targeted areas, the provision of logistical support to maximise vaccine and testing uptake, and further help for local public health campaigns. (26 July)
The list of sectors whose workers may be exempt from COVID isolation has been released by ministers this morning. (23 July)
The Government has launched a new campaign to encourage people in England to continue to wear face coverings in crowded public spaces, to make sure rooms are well ventilated and to take up the offer of twice-weekly free testing. (23 July)
The Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment, Nadhim Zahawi, updated Parliament on the NHS COVID Pass and vaccine effectiveness. The Pass was rolled out this week for domestic use to allow people to demonstrate their COVID status (including vaccination status, test results or natural immunity). Businesses in England can adopt the pass as a means of entry where suitable for their venue or premises where they can see its potential to keep their clients/customers safe. (23 July)
As part of the move to step 4 in England on 19 July, guidance has been updated on when to wear face coverings. Whilst there is no longer a legal requirement to wear one in indoor settings or on public transport, people are expected and recommended to continue to wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces where they come into contact with people they don’t normally meet. Businesses, including transport operators, can also ask their employees and customers to wear face coverings. (22 July)
Guidance to accompany the pavement licence provisions has been updated to note that where licences are deemed to have been granted, to allow these licences to remain in place for a year but not beyond up to 30 September 2022. (22 July)
Existing guidance applying to local areas with additional COVID-19 measures in place has been updated, including the removal of advice to keep 2 metres apart and minimise travel into and out of the areas, but local residents are urged to remain cautious and follow the national guidance – currently no councils in North East England are affected. In these areas, government is providing a support package including the option to deliver extra testing within targeted areas, the provision of logistical support to maximise vaccine and testing uptake, further help for local campaigns and the option to work with secondary schools and colleges to temporarily reintroduce on site testing and proportionate use of face coverings in areas of high prevalence. Areas that have recently started to receive this support package will continue to do so for five weeks, and those that have been receiving it for longer will be reviewed. (21 July)
In yesterday’s press conference, the Prime Minister advised that the Government reserves the right to mandate Covid certification at any point and gave notice now that by the end of September - when all over 18s will have had the chance to be double jabbed – of the intention to make full vaccination the condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather. At that point proof of a negative test will no longer be sufficient. (20 July)
Fully vaccinated critical workers are to be able to leave self-isolation in exceptional circumstances under new plans to prevent serious disruption to vital public services. (20 July)
Advice for local authorities, owners and operators in England has been published to support the safe use and management of outdoor public places, such as urban centres, green spaces, outdoor playgrounds, outdoor gyms, tourist hotspots (including beaches, the countryside and coastal areas) while the risk of COVID-19 transmission remains. (20 July)
Today, England moves to Step 4 of the roadmap with most restrictions on businesses being lifted. However, the government is advising employers to still take reasonable steps to keep staff and customers safe. (19 July)
Durham County Council has updated information on accessing and using key services following changes to COVID restrictions today - the Council is encouraging and recommending members of the public to continue to wear face coverings, unless exempt, in all council buildings and venues to protect each other and staff, helping to reduce the spread of coronavirus and enable the continuing provision of services for those who need them most. (19 July)
Anyone arriving from France to England must continue to quarantine for 10 days at home or in other accommodation, even if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. (19 July)
VisitEngland is working in partnership with the Caterer to deliver a staffing summit webinar on Thursday 22 July. The summit will explore how the industry can better promote the career options available in the sector and highlight the organisations that can assist businesses in finding new recruits. This webinar will be dedicated to equipping operators with the tools to attract new employees and revealing ways to keep staff in long-term sustainable careers. You can register for free here. (19 July)
A resource to help event organisers reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in event settings has been published. The template sets out examples of the types of risk mitigation measures event organisers can put in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission at events. This should be used in conjunction with the events and attractions guidance, which explains the types of events which may need to take additional measures and how these measures can help to reduce risk. (15 July)
The UK Government along with the Scottish and Welsh Governments have updated their travel lists, with changes coming into effect for passengers arriving into England, Scotland and Wales after 04:00 on Monday 19 July, as follows: Bulgaria and Hong Kong to be added to the green list; Croatia and Taiwan to be added to the greenwatchlist; The Balearic Islands and British Virgin Islands to move from the green watchlist to amber; and Cuba, Indonesia, Myanmar and Sierra Leone to be added to the red list. (15 July)
The guidance on quarantine and testing if you've been in an amber list country for those arriving in England has been updated to reflect the changes coming into effect from 19 July for those fully vaccinated under the UK vaccination programme. (15 July)
The latest statement from the seven local authorities in North East England asks us all to play a part in keeping the region safe as restrictions are lifted. (14 July)
In a press conference yesterday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that England will move to Step 4 from 19 July. He said that we cannot return instantly to how life was before COVID-19 and while cases are high and rising, everybody needs to continue to act carefully and remain cautious. The next steps have been set out in the moving to step 4 guidance. (13 July)
A new guide for employers has been published with information and resources to help support their staff and promote the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination programme. (13 July)
Amazon, Sky, Molson Coors and Three UK have joined forces with the government to encourage their employees to get COVID-19 vaccines. Over the last six months, leading businesses have pledged their support in promoting positive vaccination messages and encouraging their staff to get the vaccine to ensure workplaces are safe and employees are protected from COVID-19. (12 July)
The government’s Rediscover Summer campaign has launched to help inspire families to get out and about safely and make the most out of summer. (12 July)
The Events Research Programme page has been updated to include science board statements regarding evidence from Phase II of the programme; protocols for Phase II; and Science Board requirements for Phase III. (12 July)
Due to start later this week, customers travelling on selected British Airways and Virgin Atlantic flights from the US, Caribbean and Europe to London Heathrow will be invited to take part in the trial to support the Government in lifting some restrictions for travellers arriving from ‘amber list’ countries. The trial will see fully vaccinated travellers of all nationalities present their Covid-19 credentials in digital or paper format to help prove vaccination status which can then be quickly and easily checked away from the border and allow safe entry to the UK. (8 July)
The Prime Minister held a press conference yesterday outlining more details about step 4, the final stage of the England roadmap, which is expected to start on 19 July, although a final decision will be made on 12 July as to whether the move to Step 4 will go ahead as planned. At step 4, the Government will remove outstanding legal restrictions on social contact, live events, and open the remaining closed settings. (6 July)
The Prime Minister will host a press conference this afternoon (Monday 5th July) to set out plans for the final step of the Roadmap in England, giving businesses and the public more time to prepare. Step 4 is expected to begin on Monday 19th July if the government’s “four tests” for easing COVID restrictions have been met. This will be confirmed on Monday 12th July following a review of the latest data. (5 July)
Patients being treated for long-term effects of coronavirus in County Durham and Darlington are benefitting from a new mental health and wellbeing initiative. The Reading Well initiative, by The Reading Agency, is providing book collections to support patients in the region being treated for post covid syndrome, also known as long Covid. The books are being provided to the County Durham Care Partnership for its two long Covid clinics at Shotley Bridge Hospital and Sedgefield Hospital. (5 July)
Guidance on working in England if you are a senior executive bringing significant economic benefit to the UK has been updated so that eligible senior executives can leave self-isolation if they are undertaking business activities which are likely to be of significant economic benefit to the UK. The senior executive must inform the government if they wish to use this exemption. They will only be able to use the exemption if they have received written permission confirming they may do so. (30 June)
The page detailing jobs that qualify for travel exemption has been updated to add new exemptions for business directors and in-flight security officers. Exemptions for aerospace engineers, overseas elite sportspersons, non-UK border security officials and regular work abroad have been updated. (30 June)
The guidance for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents has been updated. The date until which people may apply for ‘exceptional assurance’ – when a person plans to leave the UK to return to a country on the amber or red list and is unable to do so - has been extended to 30 September 2021. (30 June)
The new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, addressed the House of Commons and confirmed the decision not to bring forward the move to step 4 of the England roadmap. He indicated that 19 July remained the target date and that he saw no reason for the current restrictions to continue beyond then. (29 June)
Durham County Council has taken the difficult decision to postpone this year’s Durham BRASS event due to uncertainty regarding national announcements on Covid restrictions and the publication of safety guidance on large scale events. The festival was due to take place across County Durham next month, with live performances running from Wednesday 14 July to Sunday 18 July. (29 June)
Local councils in England are urged to support businesses to set-up temporary ‘pop-up’ campsites without the need to apply for planning permission. (28 June)
The Government has published the report for phase 1 of the Events Research Programme (ERP). While additional ERP events continue to gather further evidence, no decisions have been taken on the full reopening of mass events. The government will set out its position on reopening ahead of Step 4 in the roadmap. (28 June)
Durham County Council has announced that measures put in place to control traffic at Household Waste Recycling Centres at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic have been removed. The measures from most of the county's HWRCs and are no longer in place at Coxhoe, Heighington, Hett Hills, Horden, Pity Me, Bishop Auckland, Seaham, Thornley Station and Tudhoe. However, traffic management will continue to be in place at Annfield Plain to support the ongoing works to develop a low carbon site and large-scale solar farm at the Morrison Busty Depot. (25 June)
From 4am Wednesday 30 June, Malta, Madeira, the Balearic Islands, several UK overseas territories and Caribbean islands (including Barbados) will be added to the government’s green list, having met the necessary criteria to be reclassified. All additions to the green list apart from Malta will also join the ‘green watchlist’, as will Israel and Jerusalem - signalling that these countries are at risk of moving from green to amber. (25 June)
The full list of countries to be added to the red list includes Eritrea, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Mongolia, Tunisia and Uganda. (25 June)
The leaders of North East England’s 7 local authorities have praised the region’s people for their collective and effective response to the pandemic but urge more caution is needed with the rise in cases. (24 June)
From 21 June, the NHS service to demonstrate your COVID-19 vaccination status has changed and is now called the NHS COVID Pass. The pass can be used to demonstrate the proof of COVID status when travelling abroad or if taking part in event trials as part of the Events Research Programme. (23 June)
As a result of the government’s announcement on 14 June 2021 to extend the date for the easing of lockdown restrictions and social distancing measures, the temporary COVID-19 adjusted right to work checks will now end on 31 August 2021. From 1 September 2021, employers will revert to face-to-face and physical document checks as set out in legislation and guidance. This will ensure employers have sufficient notice to put measures in place to enable face-to-face document checks. (21 June)
UKinbound has launched the UKinbound Group Friendly Charter which has been developed in response to the challenges faced by tour operators and group travel organisers in securing the accommodation they need, whilst having the flexibility to respond to ever-changing global travel conditions. Offering a set of competitive terms, the Charter allows accommodation providers to offer flexibility in good faith, provides peace of mind to tour operators and their clients, and encourages mutual collaboration to aid the industry’s recovery. Any UK accommodation providers who want to welcome groups and offer competitive terms can sign up to the Charter and be easily identified by tour operators and group travel organisers. All participating properties are required to operate a COVID-safe policy. (18 June)
The guidance for places of worship has been updated to reflect the changes to the rules for weddings, civil partnership ceremonies, receptions and commemorative events. (17 June)
From 21 June, limits for out-of-school residential stays have also been increased in England, meaning that hotels and other forms of group accommodation will be able to offer residential visits for groups of up to 30 children, rather than groups of 6. (16 June)
Following the government’s decision to delay the further lifting of restrictions until 19th July, the Leaders of the LA7 in North East England have released a statement welcoming the pause which will allow the vaccination programme to be delivered at a greater pace and calling for patience and urging the public to exercise caution. (16 June)
A new campaign has been launched aimed at answering some of the most frequently asked questions North East England residents have about Covid-19 vaccines. (16 June)
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, was joined by Chief Medical Officer for England, Chris Whitty, and Chief Scientific Adviser, Patrick Vallance, at a press briefing this evening. As not all of four tests for proceeding to Step 4 in the UK Government Roadmap have been met, Step 4 openings will be delayed until July 19th, with the exception of weddings and wakes of more than 30 guests which can go ahead with social distancing. View the Prime Minister’s statement and the slides and dataset from the briefing. (15 June)
The BBC is reporting that the Prime Minister will confirm at a news conference later today that the move to Step 4 coronavirus rules on 21 June will be delayed for up to four weeks. (14 June)
The Government has announced a new plan to drive the rapid recovery of the tourism sector. The plan aims to recover domestic tourism to pre-pandemic levels by 2022 and international tourism by 2023 - both at least a year faster than independent forecasts predict. New initiatives to boost tourism include £10 million National Lottery Days Out scheme to support attractions and a new rail pass to encourage domestic breaks. (11 June)
Ministerial Directions in relation to the Event Research Programme pilot events have been published for 2020 UEFA European Football Championships, Royal Ascot Races and LV= Insurance Test: England vs New Zealand. In order for these pilot events to take place, parts of The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021 (S.I. 2021/364) need to be disapplied by the Secretary of State for both DCMS and DHSC. This means relevant restrictions such as gathering, hospitality or the requirement to wear face masks can be disapplied at a specified premise or event and for specified periods for the purpose of research into the transmission of coronavirus in a controlled environment. (9 June)
NHS vaccine bus to deliver more walk-in jabs across County Durham. The bus, which has a capacity to provide around 250 vaccinations a day, will stop at: Aldi Car Park, Horden, Peterlee, SR8 5BA, on June 9, from 12 noon to 7pm; Kelloe Working Men's Club Car Park, 4 Front Street, Kelloe, DH6 4PD, on June 11, from 12 noon to 7pm; Ferryhill Market Place, DL17 8JW, on June 15, from 12 noon to 7pm; Asda Car Park, Byron Place, South Terrace, Seaham, SR7 7HN, on June 21, from 12 noon to 7pm. (8 June)
A new page has been published bringing together information on the Events Research Programme (ERP). The results of programme will be published in the coming weeks. (7 June)
A new email address has been added under the unaccompanied minors section of booking and staying in a quarantine hotel if you’ve been in a red list country. (7 June)
The first update to the government’s traffic light list for international travel took place on Thursday 3 June 2021, with Portugal moved to the amber list. Afghanistan, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and Trinidad and Tobago will move from the amber list to the red list. (4 June)
Travel to France from the UK is permitted only for EU nationals, French residents, or those travelling for essential reasons. This applies to all air, car, ferry and train passengers. Arrivals from the UK who are resident in France may need to show proof of residence. Those who are not French residents or EU nationals will need an essential reason to travel and to complete an International Travel Certificate. Further information is available on the French government’s website. (2 June)
Press release has been issued on life-saving vaccination programme hitting more major milestones as new vaccine is added to armoury. Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock to acknowledge success of UK’s biggest vaccine drive in history at G7 meeting of Health Ministers this week. (1 June)
The guidance for ‘if you’re in an area in England where the new COVID-19 variant is spreading’ has been updated to say that people should ‘minimise travel in and out of affected areas’. It previously advised people should ‘avoid travelling in and out of affected areas unless it is essential, for example for work (if you cannot work from home) or education’. (27 May)
The government is to launch 9 pilots in England to test new, creative ways to help ensure people stick to self-isolation rules in areas with higher prevalence of infection including from new variants. In partnership with local authorities, the government is backing the pilots with £12 million which will be used for a range of initiatives including providing alternative accommodation for people in overcrowded households, social care support such as increasing existing social care support for vulnerable adults and providing ‘buddying’ services for people whose mental health has been affected by lockdown and the variant outbreaks, and language communications support for individuals where English isn’t their first language. These pilots are designed to encourage people most at risk of catching and transmitting COVID-19 to come forward for testing and to self-isolate successfully if they test positive. (24 May)