Dudley borough encourages residents to continue to remain vigilant as COVID-19 hasn't gone away.
Changes to Plan B
What has changed
The government has announced that the measures put in place under Plan B in England will be lifted.
- The government is no longer asking people to work from home if they can. People should now talk to their employers to agree arrangements to return to the office.
- From 20 January: Face coverings will no longer be advised for staff and pupils in secondary school and college classrooms.
- From 27 January: Face coverings will no longer be advised for staff and pupils in communal areas of secondary schools, nor for staff in communal areas of primaries. Directors of Public Health will only be able to recommend pupils and staff wear masks in communal areas in places where there are outbreaks or where the local public health situation justifies it, and with sign-off from the Education Secretary.
- From 27 January: There is no longer a legal requirement to wear a face covering. The government suggests that you continue to wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you may come into contact with other people you do not normally meet.
- From 27 January: Venues and events will no longer be required by law to check visitors’ NHS COVID Pass. The NHS COVID Pass can still be used on a voluntary basis.
For more information on this guidance, visit the Government website.
Changes to self-isolation
From Monday 17 January, people with COVID-19 in England can end their self-isolation after 5 full days, as long as they test negative on day 5 and day 6.
- People self-isolating with COVID-19 will have the option to reduce their isolation period after 5 full days if they test negative on both day 5 and day 6 and do not have a temperature, from Monday, 17 January
- Individuals who are still positive on their rapid lateral flow tests must stay in isolation until they have had 2 consecutive negative tests taken on separate days
- This will support essential public services and keep supply chains running over the winter
Self-isolation may continue in certain circumstances, such as for those who work with vulnerable people. A full list will be published in guidance in due course.
In line with this announcement, the government will also consider the guidance for close contacts of people with COVID-19, including around the advice for fully vaccinated contacts to take daily rapid lateral flow tests for 7 days. For more information, please visit the national government website.
If both your lateral flow test results are negative, it is likely that you were not infectious at the time the tests were taken and you can end your isolation. To further reduce the chance of passing COVID-19 on to others, you are strongly advised to follow the current advice, which is:
- limit close contact with other people outside your household, especially in crowded, enclosed or poorly ventilated spaces
- work from home if you can
- wear a face covering in crowded, enclosed or poorly ventilated spaces and where you are in close contact with other people
- limit contact with anyone who is at higher risk of severe illness if infected with COVID-19
- follow the guidance on how to stay safe and help prevent the spread
Changes to confirmatory PCR testing
From 11 January in England, people who receive positive lateral flow device (LFD) test results for coronavirus (COVID-19) will be required to self-isolate immediately and won’t be required to take a confirmatory PCR test.
Some people will still be advised to get a confirmatory PCR:
- People who want to apply for the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment (TTSP).
- People participating in some research or surveillance programmes.
- People who have received a positive Day 2 LFD after arriving into the UK (to help us understand if and where potentially dangerous variants are emerging around the world).
Lateral flow tests are taken by people who do not have COVID-19 symptoms. Anyone who develops 1 of the 3 main COVID-19 symptoms should stay at home and self-isolate and take a PCR test. They must self-isolate if they get a positive test result, even if they have had a recent negative lateral flow test – these rules have not changed.
For more information, visit the Government website.
Some key protections remain in place:
- symptomatic testing (PCR tests) and targeted asymptomatic testing (LFT tests) in education, high risk workplaces and to help people manage their personal risk
- isolating when positive or when contacted by NHS Test and Trace
- border quarantine: for all arriving from red list countries, and for those people arriving from amber list countries, other than those UK residents fully vaccinated in the UK vaccine programme
- encouraging and supporting businesses and large events to use certification in high risk settings. Government will work with organisations where people are likely to be in close proximity to others outside their household to encourage use of certification
Government recommendations to reduce the spread of COVID-19:
- Whilst Government is no longer instructing people to work from home if they can, Government expects and recommends a gradual return over the summer
- Government expects and recommends people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as on busy public transport
- Spending time outside or letting fresh air in
- Minimising the number, proximity and duration of social contacts