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Coronavirus bubbles: How do they work and who is in yours?

As lockdown restrictions are eased further, people across the UK can now set up support bubbles.

The aim is to help people who've been cut off from friends and family.

Those inside a support bubble count as one household and do not have to socially distance from one another.

What is a support bubble?

A bubble is defined as a group of people with whom you have close physical contact. The idea was first introduced in New Zealand.

Single adults living alone - or single parents whose children are under 18 - can now form a support bubble with one other household.

The second household can be of any size and can now include people who are shielding.

The independent advisory group Sage has been asked to examine if, when and how people might safely be allowed to expand their bubbles.

What are the support bubble rules?

Support bubbles must be "exclusive". Once in one, you can't switch and start another with a different household.

People in each bubble can stay in each other's homes and do not have to socially distance. They count as one household, which means that in England a further household is now allowed to stay overnight with them.

Anyone in the bubble contacted as part of England's test and trace programme must stay at home. If they develop coronavirus symptoms, everyone in the bubble must self-isolate.

BBC Front Page News

Huawei 5G kit must be removed from UK by 2027

The government is also banning telecoms firms from buying new Huawei 5G kit after 31 December.

Coronavirus: Face masks and coverings to be compulsory in England's shops

The new rules will apply from 24 July and those failing to comply will face a fine of up to £100.

UK economy rebounds more slowly than expected

The UK's economy grew 1.8% in May as the lockdown began to ease, less than economists had predicted.

Winter wave of coronavirus 'could be worse than first'

Modelling suggests there could be a deadly second peak, killing more than 100,000 people in the UK.

Covid Updates for Middlesex

Friday 3 July 2020

In this update:

  • Please stay safe this weekend as restrictions ease
  • Plans to contain local outbreaks
  • Phased reopening of libraries
  • Join in the NHS birthday celebrations this weekend 
  • Guidance on marriages and civil partnerships 

Stay safe this weekend, please

As lockdown restrictions ease further this weekend, we're urging everyone - residents, visitors and businesses - to stay alert and stay safe.

We're seeing lots of tourism and hospitality businesses preparing to re-open their doors this weekend and welcome guests for the first time in months, including holiday accommodation, pubs and restaurants, which so many people in Middlesex rely on for their income.

But while some of us are excited to begin to enjoy parts of life we haven't experienced since the end of March, we also appreciate the fears others may have with our high streets and tourist destinations becoming busier again and many thousands of people coming back to our region.

Please don't get complacent this weekend. We must remember that this isn't over yet - there's still a pandemic. Although the risk from coronavirus is much lower now, it’s still there and we must all remain vigilant in order to prevent it spreading.

Make sure you know what you can and can't do, how to stay safe outside your home and that you understand the government's social distancing guidance.

Public Health England has published a blog with some useful suggestions for staying safe.

New plan to contain coronavirus outbreaks

Councils will be at the forefront of managing any local coronavirus outbreaks in their areas, so we've been working hard to develop new measures to help reduce the spread of cases in the Middlesex and safeguard the health of our residents. 

It's called the 'Local Outbreak Management Plan' and we sent you a special edition of this e-bulletin earlier in the week to tell you about what's involved.

We're keen for everyone to understand the part they have to play in preventing local outbreaks and what will happen to manage them quickly and effectively if they do occur.

We've published the plan on our website, and it will be updated as new national guidance is published or legislation changes. You can also download a copy.

Understanding Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 data

There has been much discussion this week about what data is available to local authorities to help us identify and respond to local outbreaks quickly. 

Until this week, the government has only shown the results of swab testing in Public Health England labs and NHS hospitals for those with a clinical need, and health and care workers (known as Pillar 1) by area on its daily dashboard.

But as of now positive cases from testing in the wider community (known as Pillar 2) are available at local authority level too.

Under the Pillar 2 testing an additional 353 cases have been added to Devon's total figure. These are not newly detected cases, they are just the number of cases identified through the Pillar 2 testing which haven't previously been published by the government. 

Even with the Pillar 2 cases added in, the overall situation in the county hasn't changed and we remain one of the local authority areas with the very lowest infection rates.

With our Local Outbreak Management Plan now in place, we are working on publishing regular up- to-date local and national data on our website as it becomes available to ensure everyone in England  is as informed as possible about the situation in the county, so they can work with us to keep themselves, their families and their communities safe. We will share the webpage with you as soon as its ready. 

Guidance produced for visitors to the South West

Tourism businesses, public health and local authorities across the South of England have banded together in a broad partnership to produce guidance for visitors about coronavirus.

'tourist charter' has been devised by the group, which is based on the experiences of the Isle of Wight’s recent test and trace pilot.

It gives simple advice to would-be visitors including booking ahead and reading terms and conditions, items to pack and things to avoid in light of the pandemic.

To complement this, a poster has also been produced for accommodation providers, that sets out the actions to take for guests who might start displaying symptoms whilst on holiday.

Shielding guidance changes on Monday 6 July

The government has updated its guidance for people who are shielding now that coronavirus infection rates have decreased significantly over the last few weeks.

This means that thousands of clinically vulnerable residents can spend more time outside their homes and see more people from Monday 6 July. 

And unless there’s a significant rise in coronavirus cases, the government has said they expect to pause the shielding programme on 31 July, including the delivery of food parcels and medicine.

We understand that some vulnerable residents may be anxious about stepping outside again and adjusting to the changes.

Local support will continue with district councils helping arrange independent food deliveries and prescription collections through trusted charities, registered volunteers, community groups and supermarkets with priority delivery slots.

Advice is also available about financial support, transport to medical appointments and combatting loneliness.

If you would like to some support, please call your District Council.

Phased reopening of libraries

Libraries will begin to reopen with a limited number of services from Monday 6 July.

Libraries Unlimited has information about what to expect at their pilot libraries on their website.

Most other libraries will offer a new free 'choose and collect' service by telephone or email so you can select your books or DVDs and collect them from the library entrance at a pre-arranged time. 

You can also continue to download and stream free eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines and other online resources from Libraries Unlimited's extensive collection from home. 

Happy birthday NHS

Saturday 5 July marks 72 years since the NHS and social care system was established. 2020 has been the most challenging year in NHS history, with staff across the health service pulling out all the stop during the coronavirus pandemic to deliver extraordinary care in the most difficult of circumstances. 

Everyone has had a part to play and, in the most difficult days, frontline workers were sustained by the support of the public.

On Sunday 5 July the NHS is inviting everyone to come together at 5.00pm to applaud the commitment, courage and sacrifice shown by so many through the pandemic and recognise the vital community connections that continue to support us all.

Following the applause, you're encouraged to raise a glass (or mug!) to thank each other – our friends, family and neighbours – for looking out for each other, helping the vulnerable, or simply doing the right thing and staying at home. 

There will also be a chance for the nation to come together and pay our respects for all the lives of those we have lost during the pandemic with a moment of remembrance and reflection on the evening of Saturday 4 July. Landmarks will be lit up as part of this collective act of remembrance and you can join in by placing a light in your window or on your doorstep. 

Please take photos and share them on social media using the hashtags #LightItBlue and #ThankYouTogether 

NHS Nightingale Exeter update

The NHS has announced that they do not need to use the Nightingale Hospital in Exeter immediately for patients with coronavirus.  

They've said that while that remains the case, they will be using their CT scanner to help local GPs and hospitals provide people with safer and faster access to tests.

The facility will remain ready to quickly revert back to receive patients with coronavirus if numbers of cases in the region rise significantly. 

Safe use of multi-purpose community facilities

Community centres, village halls, and other multi-use community facilities support a wide range of local activities and services, but their communal nature also makes them places that are vulnerable to the spread of coronavirus. 

The government has published guidance for those managing and using community facilities about reopening safely and what activities are permitted 

Tying the knot safely

Marriages and civil partnerships bring families and friends together to celebrate, which makes them particularly vulnerable to the spread of coronavirus.

The government has published guidance on how small marriages and civil partnerships can take place safely from Saturday 4 July.

There are restrictions on the number of guests you can have and ceremonies should be as short as possible and limited to the parts that make them legally binding. There should also be no singing or playing wind instruments.

It's strongly advised that receptions don't take place at the moment, and if there are any celebrations after the ceremony they should follow social distancing guidelines and only involve groups of up to two households or up to six people from different households if outdoors. 

There's more local information from our Registration Service on our website, including the fixed capacity of our registrations offices and venues and how ceremonies will be conducted. 

You may feel that the current restrictions don’t allow you to have the ceremony you want, but please remember you can change the date free of charge with our registration service – please speak to your venue or call 0345 155 1002.

And finally... a reminder about Test and Trace

We all want the UK to recover from this pandemic as quickly and as safely as possible, and for that to happen we all need to do our bit to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

It's really important that if you develop coronavirus symptoms you get a free NHS test to check if you have it.

You can find out more about how to get a test, what happens if your result is positive and if you're contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service on the NHS website.

 

The latest national advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) is available on the
Government website and NHS website.

Please forward this email to anyone you think would find it useful and encourage them to sign up.

Please note that all of our sites and offices are closed to the public, except for necessary prearranged visits, but you can still contact us if you need to.

BBC news for Middlesex

Bow crane collapse: Family 'need answers' after woman's death

June Harvey died after after a 20m (65ft) crane crashed down onto a house in Bow.

Major museums announce reopening plans, and expect 80% drop in visitors

The Natural History Museum, V&A and Science Museum all announce they will reopen in August.

Penge shooting: Man killed while walking through park

Police believe Dean Edwards, 43, was shot in the back of the head as he left Betts Park in Penge.

Crossharbour stabbing: Man charged after teen killed

Hamza Hoque, of Manchester Road, Tower Hamlets, is due to appear at court later.