Updated: 2 March 2021
National lockdown: stay at home
- Do not leave your home unless necessary
- Stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household or bubble
- 1 in 3 people who have the virus have no symptoms, so you could be spreading it without knowing it
- You should only leave your homes for limited reasons, guidance is available from GOV.UK including advice on what you can and cannot do.
- If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you are advised to follow the shielding guidance.
Plan to ease lockdown announced
A roadmap for easing restrictions in England has been announced by the Prime Minister. The ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’ document sets out four steps for easing restrictions.
‘Before proceeding to the next step, the Government will examine the data to assess the impact of the previous step.'
The assessment will be based on four tests:
- the vaccine deployment programme continues successfully
- evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated
- infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS
- assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new variants of concern
It advises that ‘It takes around four weeks for the data to reflect the impact of the previous step and the Government will provide a further week’s notice to individuals and businesses before making changes. The roadmap therefore sets out indicative, “no earlier than” dates for the steps which are five weeks apart. These dates are wholly contingent on the data and are subject to change if the four tests are not met.’
Changes to restrictions from 8 March
Guidance on the changes from 8 March has been published. The changes include:
- pupils return to face-to-face education in school and further education in England
- outdoor recreation, such as a picnic, is allowed - this can be on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble
- indoor visits to care homes start again for a single named visitor
The Clinically Extremely Vulnerable are advised not to attend work, school or education until 31 March.
No further significant changes will be made on 8 March and restrictions requiring you to stay at home will remain in place. Later changes, including from 29 March, are set out in the COVID-19 response roadmap.
COVID-19 vaccination programme
The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine to people most at risk from coronavirus.
The order in which people are offered the vaccine is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). The latest JCVI advice on priority groups for the COVID-19 vaccination is published on GOV.UK.
It is currently being given to:
- people aged 60 and over
- people who are at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable)
- people who are at moderate risk from coronavirus (clinically vulnerable)
- people who live or work in care homes
- health and social care workers
- people who get Carer's Allowance – find out more about Carer's Allowance on GOV.UK
The JCVI has now published its advice for Phase 2 of the vaccination programme. After groups 1 to 9 in Phase 1, people aged 40 to 49 years are at highest risk of hospitalisation, with the risk reducing the younger you are. Prioritisation will therefore continue in the following order, once all at-risk groups in Phase 1 have been offered at least one dose of the vaccine:
- all those aged 40 to 49 years
- all those aged 30 to 39 years
- all those aged 18 to 29 years'
Read more about the vaccination process from the NHS and local information from Herts County Council.
For further information please visit the official guidance available via the NHS and GOV.UK:
- NHS Guidance Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine
- COVID-19 vaccination: guide for older adults
- COVID-19 Vaccines Delivery Plan
How to help stop the spread of COVID-19
Guidance is available on GOV.UK:
- How to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Reducing the chance of catching or spreading the virus in your home
- Letting fresh air in
- Stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection
Visit the GermDefence website for further advice on reducing the risks from COVID-19 in your home.
Further information is available on the Coronavirus: Protect yourself and others page.
Beware of COVID Scammers
Beware of vaccine scam messages where fraudsters send out fake texts offering a COVID vaccine in an attempt to steal personal and financial information. Further advice on how to spot COVID scams is available below:
- COVID scams: How can I spot them? (ITV)
- COVID: the latest vaccination scams used by fraudsters (ITV)
- Advice for consumers: coronavirus scam calls and texts (Ofcom)
- Coronavirus Scams: Tips to Protect yourself from Scammers
If you have symptoms - Managing a possible coronavirus infection
- Guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection - guidance if you or someone in your household have symptoms
- Guidance for households with grandparents, parents and children living together where someone is at increased risk or has symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.
- Your Covid Recovery - NHS site providing information on what you might expect as part of your recovery and information for family, friends and carers
Get a Test
- Testing in Hertfordshire
- Get a free NHS test to check if you have coronavirus
- Coronavirus: when to get a test and self-isolate
Self-isolation and support payments
- Self-isolation if you or someone you live with has symptoms – NHS guidance on self-isolation
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): how to self-isolate when you travel to the UK
- Test and Trace Support Payments - To support those who are self-isolating and are struggling financially as a result, the new Test and Trace Support Payment scheme is for people on low incomes who are unable to work from home and will have a reduction in their income
Staying safe and social distancing
- National Restrictions
- Social distancing guidance
- Making a support bubble with another household
- Guidance on shielding - protecting people defined on medical grounds as clinically extremely vulnerable
- Support for the clinically extremely vulnerable
- Face coverings: when to wear one and how to make your own
Test and Trace
Test and Trace: how it works - an overview of the Test and Trace service, including what happens if you test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or have had close contact with someone who has tested positive
Mental Health and Wellbeing Support
- Guidance for the public on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Better Health: Every Mind Matters
- Staying mentally well: winter plan 2020 to 2021
- NHS Recommended Helplines
Advice and support
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): support for victims of domestic abuse – support for those who feel they are at risk of abuse
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice on how to protect yourself and your business from fraud and cyber crime - Simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your business from fraud and cybercrime