Last night (Monday, 4 January), the Prime Minister announced that the country must go into lockdown to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed by a surge in COVID-19 hospital admissions. In his latest coronavirus update message (above as a video, and below as text), council leader Julian Bell explains what you can and cannot now do.
Across London, cases rose rapidly last month with the latest figures for Ealing showing a weekly infection rate of 857.8 per 100,000.
The new strand of the virus spreads rapidly and, so, a ‘stay at home’ order, along with other restrictions, will become law across the country on Wednesday morning, one minute after midnight tonight (Tuesday, 5 January).
Lockdown: The rules
People must avoid contact with others and are only permitted to leave their homes for a limited set of reasons that include:
- Work or volunteering, where it is not possible to work from home – people who work in other people’s homes are still permitted to do so
- Medical appointments and emergencies
- Shopping for essential items such as food and medicine
- Communal religious worship whilst not mixing with people outside your household or support bubble
- Meeting your support or childcare bubble – children can move between homes of parents who are not living together
- Exercise once a day, in your local area – you can do this alone, or with members of your household, support bubble or one other person.
Schools and education
Schools will remain closed except for vulnerable children and children of critical workers. Remote learning will be in place for other students until at least mid-February. Universities and colleges will also put in place online learning. The government has confirmed that public exams are expected to go ahead in January and February but A-level and GCSE public examinations in the summer will have alternative arrangements. This will be assessed and announced in the future.
Shielding and bubbles
Extremely clinically vulnerable are advised to shield and should limit the time outside of their homes for essential reasons only – such as medical appointments, or exercise. They should not attend work or education.
No household mixing indoors or outdoors is allowed, unless it is part of a support bubble or childcare bubble.
Shops, business and sport
All non-essential retail must remain shut, but takeaway food is permitted. Further business support and grants have been announced by government and will be administered by Ealing and rolled out as soon as possible.
Exercise is allowed in public outdoor places, including parks, public gardens, heritage sites and playgrounds. Indoor gyms and sports facilities will remain closed. Outdoor sports courts, outdoor gyms, golf courses, outdoor swimming pools, archery, driving/shooting ranges and riding arenas must also close.
Organised outdoor sport for disabled people is allowed to continue and for elite athletes but all other organised group sports are prohibited.
Follow the rules
Each and every one of us need to follow these new rules so that we can keep Ealing safe, protect the NHS and save lives.
Lockdown: Finding support
The council continues to support vulnerable individuals and households through a mix of virtual and face-to-face interactions. The Ealing Together line remains available to vulnerable residents: 020 8825 7170.
Information for residents on financial advice, work support and taking care of health and wellbeing is available on the council’s website.