Our Covid-19 page aims to provide you with all the latest news and support regarding the Covid-19 pandemic.
Clinically Extremely Vulnerable people are advised to shield
England is still in a national lockdown. Please therefore stay at home, leaving only where permitted by law and follow the rules. Some of the rules on what you can and cannot do changed on 8th March:
- You can spend time in outdoor public spaces for recreation on your own, with your household or support bubble, or with one other person. This means you can sit down for a drink or a picnic. You must continue to maintain social distance from those individuals outside of your household. This is in addition to outdoor exercise, which is already permitted
- Pupils and students in all schools and Further Education settings should return to face-to-face education
- Wraparound childcare can reopen and other children’s activities can restart only where it is needed to enable parents to work, attend education, seek medical care or attend a support group. Vulnerable children can attend childcare and other children’s activities in all circumstances
- Students on practical Higher Education courses at English universities who have not already returned and would be unable to complete their courses if they did not return to take part in practical teaching, access specialist facilities or complete assessments will be able to return
- There will continue to be restrictions on international travel. International holidays will not be a permitted reason to travel until at least May 2021
- Those seeking to leave the UK must complete an outbound declaration of travel form ahead of departure
- The rules on visiting care homes have changed to allow regular indoor visits for a single named visitor.
For further information on the rules and restrictions please visit gov.uk.
Testing the Households of School Pupils…
About 1 in 3 people who have contracted Covid-19 won’t display any symptoms, while still being able pass it to other people they come into contact with. Consequently, regular testing of those people without symptoms is important to help stop the virus spreading and to protect our loved ones. As lockdown restrictions gradually ease we all need to play our part to help better protect one another. In an effort to increase the levels of testing for people connected to the education system, the government have therefore made twice-weekly testing kits available for people without symptoms.
Free Rapid Lateral Flow Tests Are Available For:
- Secondary school pupils and college students
- Staff of primary and secondary schools, nurseries and colleges
- Households, childcare and support bubbles of nursery children, primary and secondary-age pupils and college students
- Households, childcare and support bubbles of staff of nurseries, primary and secondary schools, and colleges
To find out more about this initiative, what the eligibility requirements are and how you take the test, please visit the rapid lateral flow test guidance page. It provides details about testing for households and bubbles of pupils, students and staff from the Department of Health & Social Care.
Essex residents who are classed as clinically extremely vulnerable and living under Tier 4 restrictions, are once again being advised by the Government to shield in order to protect themselves from catching Covid-19.
Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable will receive a letter from the Government, outlining the new guidance, including to stay at home at all times, unless for exercise or medical appointments, and not to attend work, even if they are unable to work from home.
The National Shielding Service has been reactivated and at a local level, the Essex Wellbeing Service (EWS) can provide vulnerable Essex residents with a single point of access to the practical, emotional and specialist support they need. Practical support on offer ranges from help accessing priority supermarket shopping slots, volunteers collecting medicines and befriending support via a phone buddy.
Residents can access the Essex Wellbeing Service (EWS) or by calling 0300 303 9988. The EWS is available to all Essex residents, regardless of which Tier they live in and will be available for emergency support only between 25-28 December.
Cllr John Spence, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said: “The latest Government announcement has presented difficulties for lots of people and we do not underestimate the impact the new restrictions will have on thousands of Essex residents, particularly those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.
“I want to reassure anyone who is worried that you will have the support you need while you are shielding.
“Anyone who doesn’t have an existing support network, please reach out – there is help available locally and there is no need for anyone to feel that they are suffering alone at this time.”
Help is also available through the Essential Living Fund. Adults and families who are struggling to pay their bills and for essential household items during the Covid-19 pandemic, and live in Essex, can apply to The Essex Essential Living Fund by through Southend Borough Council at
This shielding guidance is officially in place for the next two weeks, but could potentially remain in place for up to four weeks.
Your local NHS is getting ready to deliver a COVID-19 vaccination programme
and they are looking for volunteers across Essex to be at the forefront of the local fight against the virus by enrolling as Volunteer Marshalls.
This is an exciting opportunity for volunteers to play a part in protecting the community and saving
Southampton University are looking to recruit members of the public to take part in a large-scale survey on the preventative behaviours people are taking to avoid catching COVID-19 and the long-term effect of those that have suffered from COVID-19 during the pandemic. Please do take a minute to complete the survey.