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Coronavirus

Crawley and country ordered into lockdown

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered the country to stay at home in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

In his speech the Prime Minister said:

“Although huge numbers are complying, the time has now come for us to do more. You must stay at home.

He said the only reason to leave home should be:

Shopping for basic necessities, one form of exercise a day, a run or a cycle, any medical need and travelling to or from work. These are the only reasons you should leave home.”

He also said that all gatherings of more than two people are now banned.

He said that people should not be meeting friends or family who do not live at home.

His message was clear:

“If your friends ask you to meet, you should say no.”

The PM said that any flounting of these new rules could incur a fine.

Clothing shops, electronic shops and other non-essential goods shops are to close. All social events including weddings, baptisms and any other ceremonies are also stopped but funerals are excluded.

The lockdown is for an initial three weeks at which point it would be reviewed again.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 have been put in place with immediate effect to impose restrictions on any individual considered by health professionals to be at risk of spreading the virus.

The regulations apply to any individuals seeking to leave supported isolation before the current quarantine period of 14 days is complete. It will also apply to future cases during the current coronavirus incident where an individual who may be infected or contaminated could present a risk to public health.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:

“I will do everything in my power to keep people in this country safe. We are taking every possible step to control the outbreak of coronavirus.

NHS staff and others will now be supported with additional legal powers to keep people safe across the country. The transmission of coronavirus would constitute a serious threat – so I am taking action to protect the public and isolate those at risk of spreading the virus.

Clinical advice has not changed about the risk to the public, which remains moderate. We are taking a belt and braces approach to all necessary precautions to ensure public safety.

Our infection control procedures are world leading – what I am announcing today further strengthens our response.”

The regulations have been put in place to reduce the risk of further human-to-human transmission in this country.

The strengthened powers, effective immediately, will ensure that NHS staff dealing with possible cases can be confident the necessary powers are in place to keep individuals in isolation where public health professionals believe there is a reasonable risk an individual may have the virus. This is in line with measures taken in other countries.

Over the weekend, the latest government-chartered flight brought a further 100 individuals from the centre of the outbreak in Hubei province to stay in supported isolation in the UK.

The individuals have been taken to the Kents Hill Park conference centre in Milton Keynes where they will remain for 14 days until the end of the incubation period. This follows the same approach for those currently being housed in Arrowe Park NHS accommodation in Wirral.

All passengers were asked to sign a consent form agreeing to stay in supported isolation for at least 14 days until the incubation period is over. In all cases so far, supported isolation has been effective in controlling the spread of the virus.

These powers will give the public further confidence that the repatriation of British citizens back to the UK from Hubei does not increase the risk of further cases in this country.

The UK Chief Medical Officers currently assess the risk to the UK to be moderate.

Coronavirus

How safe is my school in Crawley? Education union launches COVID-19 map

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The National Education Union, the largest education union in the UK and Europe which represents over 450,000 members has launched a new website that they say provides ‘accurate, accessible and up-to-date information about the Covid-19 rate in the locality of every school in England.’

The site is aimed at people being able to check what the levels of Covid are around the school and whether the school is on a watch list or not.

They say the site is updated weekly, and the data will show the number of Covid-19 cases in a school’s surrounding area, the trend since last week (an increase or decrease in case numbers), whether or not the school is on a watchlist, and links to any local restrictions in place.

They add:

“In much of the country the map will offer reassurance that case numbers are quite low. In others, it will reinforce public health messaging from local authorities and Government that cases are higher. In all situations it will encourage members of the public to follow all public health guidance.

Where cases are higher, it will support head teachers in encouraging parents and other visitors to school sites to maintain social distancing and hygiene.”

Commenting on the launch, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: 

“Everyone in the education sector has worked hard to make full opening of schools, colleges and universities as successful as possible this autumn, but they have been let down by the Government which hasn’t even ensured that Covid testing has kept pace with need.

“But this website will also encourage parents to support our asks of the Government that they help to support safety in our schools and colleges.

“Parents, students and staff also need urgent answers on next year’s exams, and how fit for purpose they will be. This is in light of not only the past summer’s fiasco, but also the disruption of local lockdowns in the months ahead.”

You can check the information around your local school at their new site by clicking here.

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