The UK Government’s COVID-19 Response Hub includes FAQs, travel advice and guidance for health professionals. This remains the key resource for the latest information and advice.
The single most important action we can all take in fighting the coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives. The government has introduced three new measures.
Gatherings of more than two people in public are permitted where the gathering is essential for work purposes - but workers should be trying to minimise all meetings and other gatherings in the workplace.
Travelling to and from work is permitted, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.
Every citizen must comply with these new measures. They will initially last for the three weeks from 23 March, at which point the Government will look at them again and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.
The UK Government has published guidance for schools, colleges and local authorities following the announcement that schools will be closed from Monday 23 March to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The guidance contains details of those children for who schools are being asked to continue to provide provision, including children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the COVID-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.
The guidance states that schools should continue to provide provision for the children of parents who have roles that are “critical to the COVID-19 response” or who those who work “as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment”. The full section on Health and Social Care staff reads as follows:
Health and social care
This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.
The guidance states that, “If workers think they fall within the critical categories above they should confirm with their employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service.”
The Scottish Government have issued separate guidance on what constitutes a “key worker”. Rather than provide a list, the Scottish Government has identified three different categories of “key worker” and are enabling local authorities to interpret this guidance depending on their regional priorities.
The Welsh Government have issued separate guidance on what constitutes a “critical worker”, which mirrors that published on “key workers” in England.
The NI Minister of Education issued the following statement including information on key workers.
The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.
This includes a package of measures to support businesses including:
In addition to the measures introduced by the Chancellor the Scottish Government have set out some additional efforts to support businesses during this time. These include rates relief packages for small businesses and grants for those in impacted sectors such as retail and hospitality.
In addition to the measures introduced by the Chancellor the Welsh Government have set out some additional efforts to support businesses during this time. These include rates relief packages for small businesses and grants for those in impacted sectors such as retail and hospitality.
nibusinessinfo.co.uk is a free service offered by Invest Northern Ireland issued the following advice for businesses within NI.
The UK Government has developed a process for prioritising, coordinating and delivering COVID-19 related clinical trials. This support includes expedited identification of sites to ensure appropriate geographical distribution of Urgent Public Health Research to maximise recruitment and minimise over-commitment of resource.
The review process has four steps:
Health and Care Research Wales publish rolling guidance for those undertaking research in Wales.
The Health Research Authority (HRA) has produced new guidance for sponsors, sites and researchers about the COVID-19 pandemic, further information in regards to NI research available here.