COVID-19 Advice for Constituents

UPDATE: Government takes action against new COVID-19 variant

From 4am Tuesday 30 November face coverings will be compulsory in shops and other settings such as banks, post offices and hairdressers, as well as on public transport unless individuals are exempt from doing so.

All travellers arriving into the country from 4am on Tuesday 30 November will be required to take a PCR test on or before day 2 and self isolate until they have received a negative test result. These PCR tests can be purchased from private providers. Free NHS tests are not valid for this purpose.

Under the UK presidency an urgent meeting of G7 health ministers will also be convened on Monday 29 November to discuss the developments on Omicron.

This update adds to the measures rapidly implemented earlier this week to prevent the spread of the new variant including travel restrictions and meaning all close contacts of anyone who has tested positive for the Omicron variant are required to isolate for 10 days regardless of whether they have been vaccinated.

Changes to the red list for international travel:

At 4am on 28 November Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola were added to the travel red list. South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia moved onto the red list at midday on 26 November.

Booster vaccines:

Everyone aged 18 and over can receive their booster vaccine 3 months after their second dose. Book your vaccination appointment online or find a walk-in clinic.

Vaccinations for 12 to 17 year olds:

All young people aged 12 and over can now get their second vaccine dose from 12 weeks after their first one. Book your vaccination appointment online or find a walk-in clinic.

 

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Understanding your personal risk in different settings and scenarios

Working from home and returning to the workplace

Since Step 4 we have seen a gradual return to offices and workplaces. As workers return to their workplaces, employers should continue to follow the working safely guidance. When considering a return to the workplace, employers should:

  • reflect this in their workplace risk assessment
  • take action to manage the risk of COVID-19 spreading, in line with the guidance

If you were previously identified as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV)

Following expert clinical advice and the successful rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine programme, people previously considered to be CEV are not being advised to shield again. If you were previously identified as CEV, you should continue to follow the guidance contained in this page. You should take advice from your health professional on whether additional precautions are right for you.

If you are pregnant

If you’re pregnant, your chance of getting COVID-19 is not higher than anyone else and it’s very unlikely you’ll get seriously ill with it.

As a minimum, you should follow the same guidance as everyone else. If you are more than 28 weeks pregnant, or if you are pregnant and have an underlying health condition that puts you at a greater risk of severe illness from COVID-19 at any point in pregnancy, you may want to consider limiting close contact with people you do not normally meet with regularly.

 

Travelling in the UK and abroad

International travel

You must follow the rules for international travel. You should not travel to countries or territories on the red list.

Travelling in the UK, Ireland and Channel Islands

There are no restrictions on travel within England.

You should check the rules at your destination if you’re planning to travel to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, or to Ireland or the Channel Islands as there may be restrictions in place.

Do not travel if you have COVID-19 symptoms or are self-isolating. Get a PCR test and follow the stay at home guidance.

 

Businesses and venues

All businesses and venues, including nightclubs and adult entertainment venues, are able to open. All capacity limits at sporting, entertainment, or business events have been lifted.

Hospitality venues such as pubs, restaurants and bars are no longer required to provide table service or follow other social distancing rules.

All businesses should follow the principles set out in the working safely guidance.

Employers still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their business. The way to do this is to carry out a health and safety risk assessment, including the risk of COVID-19, and to take reasonable steps to mitigate the risks you identify. The working safely guidance sets out a range of mitigations employers should consider including:

  • identifying poorly ventilated areas in the venue, for example by using a CO2 monitor, and taking steps to improve air flow in these areas
  • ensuring that staff and customers who are unwell do not attend the workplace or venue
  • providing hand sanitiser to enable staff and customers to clean their hands more frequently, and cleaning surfaces that people touch regularly
  • communicating to staff and customers the measures you have put in place

Businesses are also encouraged to continue displaying NHS QR codes for attendees wishing to check in using the NHS COVID-19 app so they are alerted if there’s an outbreak and can take action to protect others, however this is no longer a legal requirement.

 

NHS COVID Pass

The NHS COVID Pass allows people to check their COVID-19 status and demonstrate that they are at lower risk of transmitting to others through full vaccination, a recent negative test, or proof of natural immunity. Some places may ask for the NHS COVID Pass as a condition of entry.

We encourage organisations in certain settings to use the NHS COVID Pass as a condition of entry to reduce the risk of COVID-19. This will especially be the case in large, crowded settings (such as nightclubs) where people are likely to be in close proximity to others outside their household.

There are some settings where the NHS COVID Pass should not be used as a condition of entry to ensure access for all. This includes essential services and essential retailers which have been able to stay open throughout the pandemic.