PHASE 2: STAY ALERT, CONTROL THE VIRUS, SAVE LIVES
Coronavirus is the biggest challenge our country has faced in decades. We are not alone. All over the world we are seeing the devastating impact of this disease. It threatens to take both our way of life and our loved ones from us. That’s why the Government put in place strict social distancing – to slow the spread of the virus so the NHS would not be overwhelmed, and lives could be saved.
Thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of the British people, and despite a tragic loss of life, the UK slowed the spread of Coronavirus. Our health system was not overwhelmed – with spare beds, ventilators, and hospital capacity at all times.
We must now begin to recover and eventually restore our way of life. The Government’s objective is to return to our way of life as soon as possible – focusing on not just saving lives, but also livelihoods. It is absolutely vital that as we do so, we avoid the risk of a second peak that overwhelms the NHS and importantly doesn’t waste the huge sacrifices the British people have made in lockdown to get the virus under control.
Protecting the health and safety of the British public is, and must always be, our number one priority. That is why the Government is introducing an app that people can download so they will know if they have come in contact with a case of Coronavirus and can isolate to keep the spread of the virus under control. And that is also why the Government set out five tests that must be met before we can slowly and cautiously lift lockdown restrictions.
To chart our progress, the Government is establishing a new Covid Alert Level System. The Covid Alert Level will be determined primarily by R - the rate of infection - and the number of Coronavirus cases. In turn, that Covid Alert Level will determine the level of social distancing measures in place. The lower the level the fewer the measures; the higher the level, the stricter the measures.
Everyone has a role to play because the R-Value is directly influenced by how many people you have contact with and for how long. This is how we ensure the sacrifice of the British public is not wasted and we avoid going back to square one.
Beating Coronavirus will take months not weeks. This is why, as we ease restrictions, everyone must stay alert and follow the rules – if not the Government will have no choice but to impose lockdown again and we will be back at square one. As we begin to recover and return to our way of life, it is vital that we all stay alert, so we can control the virus and save lives.
We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:
- Stay at home as much as possible
- Work from home if you can
- Limit contact with other people
- Keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
- Wash your hands regularly
- Self-isolate if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.
What changes will take place?
- For the foreseeable future, workers should continue to work from home rather than their normal physical workplace, wherever possible.
- Anyone who can’t work from home, for instance those in construction of manufacturing, should be actively encouraged to go to work.
- From Wednesday 13th May 2020, people can take more and unlimited amounts of exercise outside. People can sit in the sun in the park, drive to other destinations, such a national parks and beaches, and can meet one person from outside of their household if they are outdoors.
- Garden centres can reopen.
- Outdoor sports courts, such as golf courses and tennis courts, can reopen.
- People must continue to follow rules on social distancing. To enforce those rules, the Government will increase the fines for the small minority who break them.
- Local authorities will urge more children who are already eligible to attend school (those who are vulnerable or whose parents are key workers) to do so.
- People should avoid using public transport wherever possible, and social distancing must be followed.
- People should aim to wear a face covering in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible, for example on public transport or in some shops.
- Clinically vulnerable people should continue to take particular care to minimise contact with others outside of their households, while those who are clinically extremely vulnerable to continue to shield themselves from contact with others.
- By 1 June, at the earliest, the Government hopes to begin the phased reopening of some non-essential retail shops that are currently closed.
- By 1 June, at the earliest, the Government hopes to begin to get primary pupils back into schools, in stages, beginning with reception, Year 1 and Year 6.
- The Government’s ambition is that secondary pupils facing exams next year will get at least some time with their teachers before the summer holidays.
- Some cultural and sporting events will be able to tackle place behind closed doors for broadcast.
- The Government has asked SAGE to examine whether, when and how it can safely change the regulations to allow people to expand their household group to include on other household in the same exclusive group.
- By July, at the earliest, the Government hopes to be re-open at least some of the hospitality industry and other public places, if they are safe and enforce social distancing.
Each of these steps is subject to conditions and further scientific advice – the steps can only happen if it is safe to do so.
What about social shielding measures?
- It is still very important that people stay home unless necessary to go out for specific reasons set out in law.
- These include:
- for work, where you cannot work from home
- going to shops that are permitted to be open - to get things like food and medicine, and to collect goods ordered online or on the phone
- to exercise or, from Wednesday 13 May, spend time outdoors for recreation
- any medical need, to donate blood, avoid injury or illness, escape risk of harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
Last Page Updated: 17/05/2020.