In Covid-19

Yesterday, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid gave a statement to Parliament on the Omicron variant and the COVID-19 vaccination programme. In his statement he announced that changes will be made to the rules on self-isolation for close contacts in England. Close contacts of anyone who tests positive with a suspected case of Omicron must self-isolate for ten days, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or not.

Public Guidance Updated

The primary Covid Guidance for the public has been updated in line with Government announcements. The core information being:

From 4am Tuesday 30 November

  • International arrivals from non-red list countries who are fully vaccinated will need to isolate at home and take a PCR test on or before day 2 following your arrival. You will only be permitted to leave isolation if this test result is negative. If your test result is positive, you will need to isolate for 10 days.
  • Face coverings will be a legal requirement in shops and on public transport.
  • Those who have come into contact with an individual who may have been infected with the Omicron variant will need to self-isolate. This will apply even if you are fully-vaccinated.

These temporary measures will be reviewed in 3 weeks’ time.

www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-coronavirus-restrictions-what-you-can-and-cannot-do

www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2021/1340/contents/made

Self-Isolation Guidance Updated

The guidance regarding self-isolation has been updated to say that anyone arriving into England after 4am on Tuesday 30 November, even if they are fully vaccinated and have not been to a red list country must:


o    must self-isolate

  • take a PCR test before the end of day 2 after you arrive (lateral flow tests will not be accepted)
  •  can only leave self-isolation if their PCR test result is negative

www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-quarantine-when-you-arrive-in-england

JCVI guidance on Booster Shots

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has issued a statement that advises Government to extending the UK COVID-19 vaccination programme to offer:

o    booster doses to adults aged 18 to 39 years
o    second doses to children and young people aged 12 to 15 years

In a Statement to parliament this afternoon, the Health Secretary stated that his accepts this advice and will be acting on it.  With around two thirds of the workforce in the tourism and hospitality sectors being aged under 40, businesses should aim to encourage staff to get their booster jab as soon as possible as this is rolled-out.

www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-vaccine-response-to-the-omicron-variant-jcvi-advice/jcvi-advice-on-the-uk-vaccine-response-to-the-omicron-variant

 Here is the Health Secretary’s statement to Parliament

www.gov.uk/government/speeches/oral-statement-to-update-on-the-omicron-variant

New Countries Added to Red List

On Sunday at 4am, Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia were added to the UK red list with South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe. This means that people cannot travel to England if they have been in these countries within the previous 10 days unless they:

  • are a British or Irish national
  • have residence rights in the UK

Children arriving in England from a red list country should not be travelling alone unless they are students in boarding school, higher education or further education.

Even if they are fully vaccinated, people who have been in a red list country within the last 10 days must:

  • quarantine for 10 full days in a managed quarantine hotel (the day you arrive in England is day 0)
  •  take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 of quarantining – these are included in your hotel package

People transiting through England directly to a country outside the Common Travel Area do not need to enter managed quarantine. Instead, they can travel straight from their port of arrival to another port in England to catch a flight, train or ferry going outside of the Common Travel Area (ie., they can arrive in Heathrow and then travel to London and get on the Eurostar)

www.gov.uk/guidance/booking-and-staying-in-a-quarantine-hotel-when-you-arrive-in-england

Updated Guidance For Students Entering The UK


The guidance for students entering the UK from a red list country has been updated to take account of the new variant

www.gov.uk/guidance/unaccompanied-higher-and-further-education-students-under-18-arriving-from-a-red-list-country

 And there is updated guidance for Students staying in Boarding Schools

www.gov.uk/guidance/unaccompanied-minors-arriving-from-a-red-list-country-to-attend-boarding-school

Final Results Of Events Research Programme


The final results of the Events Research programme have been published. These consist of two scientific notes:
o    Emerging findings from studies of indicators of SARS-CoV-2 transmission risk at the Events Research Programme: environment, crowd densities and attendee behaviour
o    A self-controlled case series study to measure the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection associated with attendance at an Events Research Programme event
And a summary document.

Some of the main findings are:
o    Environmental and behavioural risk factors associated with COVID-19 transmission at events are complex and contextual.
o    Good air quality, for the given occupancy levels, was found in nearly all venues, however there were situations leading to poor air quality in some spaces: mostly due to pockets of overcrowding but occasionally due to ventilations strategies needing improvement.
o    Adherence to safety measures including physical distancing and face covering usage were higher at events or locations within an event where they were required rather than discretionary.
o    Individual risk while attending an event is dependent on social interactions, on the interaction with the environment, and on the individual journey through an event.
o    There was little evidence of increased transmission by attendance at the following categories of events (although these should be treated with caution due to capacity constraints in operation at the time): 
    mainly outdoor seated
    mainly outdoor partially seated
    indoor seated theatre events
o    Attendance at the mainly outdoor unseated events studied (Goodwood, Latitude and Tramlines) was associated with a 1.7 fold increased risk of COVID-19 transmission amongst attendees (albeit from a very low base line)

Analysis of the data from ERP continues and further investigation of key risk factors will be used for further modelling and to inform policy guidance.

www.gov.uk/government/publications/events-research-programme-phase-ii-and-iii-findings
 

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