Sector

09 December 2021

Covid-19 update: new UK winter restrictions announced

As the UK tries to stay ahead of the new Omicron Covid-19 variant, new restrictions have been introduced which may impact the way pest control professionals carry out work. 

covid19updatenewwinterrestrictionslockdownbpca

At the end of November 2021, a new variant of Covid-19 was designated a 'variant of concern' by the World Health Organisation (WHO). 

New temporary restrictions regarding travel, face masks and isolation were announced as follows:

  • All international travellers arriving in the UK after 04:00 on Tuesday 30 November must take a PCR test within 2 days of arrival and self-isolate until they receive a negative result. Lateral flow tests will no longer be accepted. Travellers are not permitted to use NHS testing for these tests
  • All contacts of suspected Omicron cases must self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of their vaccination status. They will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace
  • Face coverings will be made compulsory in shops and on public transport in England from Tuesday 30 November. All hospitality settings will be exempt
  • From 04:00 Sunday 28 November South Africa, Botswana, Lesostho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibi, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, and Angola will be added to the UK’s travel red list.

These restrictions were reviewed this week and on 8 December 2021 the UK Prime Minister gave an update, including new measures to slow the spread of Covid-19 during the winter period. 

The following measures were announced for England:

From Friday 10 December:

  • Face coverings will become compulsory in most public indoor venues, such as cinemas, theatres and places of worship
  • There will be exemptions in venues where it is not practical to wear one, such as when you are eating, drinking or exercising
  • Face masks will not be required in hospitality settings.

From Monday 13 December: 

  • Those who can, will be advised to work from home.

From Wednesday 15 December (subject to parliamentary approval): 

  • The NHS Covid Pass on the NHS App will become mandatory for entry into nightclubs and settings where large crowds gather. This includes unseated indoor events with 500 or more attendees, unseated outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees and any event with 10,000 or more attendees
  • People will be able to demonstrate proof of two vaccine doses via the app
  • A negative lateral flow test will also be accepted.

Restrictions and guidance across Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales may differ slightly from those listed above. For more information, visit our Covid-19 guidance page

covid19updatenewwinterrestrictionslockdownbpca2

Changes to self-isolation rules

If you have been in contact with a positive case of Covid-19, you will be asked to take daily lateral flow tests (LFT) instead of the ten-day self-isolation period. 

However, if you’re a contact of someone who has been infected with the Omicron variant, you must self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of your age, vaccination status or any negative test results.

Remember, LFTs are to be used when you do not have symptoms of coronavirus. If you present with symptoms of Covid-19, it is recommended that you take a PCR test

If you have not been in contact with a Covid-19 positive case, you should still consider taking regular LFTs, particularly before entering a high-risk setting involving a vulnerable person such as entering care homes or hospitals. 

Lateral flow devices remain free of charge and can be collected from local pharmacies. You can also order them online here

Vaccinations and treatments

The booster programme is now open to all those over 40, and people are urged to come forward and book their booster jabs. 

Advice for pest professionals

Throughout the pandemic BPCA has been working to keep our advice as up-to-date as possible, to keep you informed and safe. 

All the advice, templates and documents can be found at bpca.org.uk/covid

There are no changes to the rules regarding those who can't work from home, such as pest professionals. Even if the rules tighten, we anticipate pest professionals will be continue to work as our sector is considered key workers.

Due to the evolving nature of the current restrictions, you will need to apply common sense when following government guidance and use our Covid-19 advice for pest professionals as a supplement alongside that. 

We have reviewed this guidance in light of the new restrictions and updated it where possible, with the aim to keep you safe and also to minimise the risk of spreading or contracting Covid-19. 

Lorraine Norton, BPCA Operations Manager, commented:

"We understand how frustrating new restrictions are for people, given the tough two years we've had so far.

"However it is still in your best interests to follow the government guidance, and stay as safe and well as possible. The BPCA Staff team, which had begun a phased shift back to office working, will now be switching to working from home again in order to keep each other and our families safe over the Christmas period. 

"We hope that you all take every precaution you can to do the same and we are here to support the pest management community as always."

What happens next?

The new restrictions are set to expire six weeks after implementation, however a review will be held again in three weeks' time. For more information, visit gov.uk/coronavirus

GOT QUESTIONS?

Members can get in touch with the BPCA Staff team with any questions or concerns.

technical@bpca.org.uk

Source: Online

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