Keeping the Virus in Check

On Monday a new set of COVID-19 guidance and laws came into force. The virus remains a killer and cases are on the rise. So reducing the rate of the spread of infection remains vital. These new rules seek to manage the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic in a way that allows much of our work, education, socialising, exercise and way of life to continue. The Prime Minister has said that the virus is expected to remain with us for a while yet. So further change and adaption will be needed as we progress through these uncertain times.

There are four parts to the updated COVID-19 position: Hands, Face, Space and the Rule of Six.

Hands means wash hands regularly, with soap or antibacterial handwash. Washing hands regularly is good hygiene in any event. Some other infections are reported to have reduced under the additional health measures with this handwashing and other measures.

Face means wearing facemasks or other face coverings including in shops and on public transport.

Space means keep your distance from other people who are not in your household. Stay at least 2 metres apart – or 1 metre with a face covering or other precautions.

These three basic precautions were entirely alien to us all only weeks ago and are now part and parcel of our daily lives. As before, please be thoughtful if people are not wearing masks, as they may be exempt or need extra assistance for lip reading or other reasons.

The Rule of Six, in a nutshell, means whether we are indoors or outside then no more than 6 people can meet together. Those 6 people can be adults or children, from the same or different households – but must not be more than 6 in total.

There are several exceptions to the Rule of Six, where different procedures are required to be in place. As always with the virus, it is fast changing so do keep a look out for changes. The updated exceptions include weddings and funerals, which can still have up to 30 people, specified organised sports activities (indoor and out), youth groups, schools, children’s playgroups, larger households and support bubbles – and going to work, including voluntary or charity work.

The way in which so many people locally have responded to this extraordinary – and worrying – time by helping others has been wonderful. I would like to pay tribute to all the people across our community who have provided, and continue to provide, support and help to people during the various stages of the pandemic. These groups remain busy and able to help, including the SuperNeighbours scheme. More information can be found on my website, www.Natalieelphicke.com, and if there are any particular questions then do continue to ask me and my team on office.natalie.elphicke.mp@parliament.uk and we will do our very best to assist. In the meantime, stay safe.

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