PM ANNOUNCES THE BEGINNING OF THE END?

Posted on

Anne-Marie Trevelyan sends us this summary of the PM’s statement in the Commons yesterday.

View this email in your browser

Today’s announcement

Good afternoon, I wanted to send a summary of the changes to the present restrictions which were announced by the Prime Minister earlier today.

It is important to remember these steps are only possible because – despite the lifting of restrictions some weeks ago – the number of deaths and new cases of Covid-19 are continuing to fall, thanks to the sacrifices we have all made.

As a result of this progress, and the Chief Medical Officers’ decision to downgrade the Covid Alert Level from 4 to 3, the Prime Minister has set out changes for England to enable people to see more of their friends and family, help businesses get back on their feet and get people back in their jobs.

The change to the alert level does not mean we have eradicated Covid-19, but that it is less prevalent in the community, meaning the activities listed below are considered to be safe, as long as everyone sticks to the distance guidance, keeps washing their hands, and wears a face covering on public transport or where social distancing may not be possible.  It is also vital that we all continue to self-isolate if we have symptoms, seek a test, and co-operate with NHS Test and Trace.

Prime Minister has set out that from Saturday 4 July:
•    Pubs, restaurants and hairdressers will be able to reopen, providing they adhere to COVID Secure guidelines.

•    Two households will be able to meet up in any setting with social distancing measures and people can now enjoy staycations in England with the reopening of accommodation sites.

•    Some leisure facilities and tourist attractions may also reopen in order to begin restoring the arts and cultural sector, if they can do so safely – this includes outdoor gyms and playgrounds, cinemas, museums, galleries, theme parks and arcades, as well as libraries, social clubs, places of worship and community centres.

•    Following a review, the Prime Minister set out that where it is not possible to stay two metres apart, guidance will allow people to keep a social distance of ‘one metre plus’. This means staying one metre apart, plus mitigations which reduce the risk of transmission.

Keeping the virus under control:
•    As we begin to reopen the economy, it’s important that we do not increase the risk of transmission which is why ‘close proximity’ venues such as nightclubs, soft-play areas, indoor gyms, swimming pools, water parks, bowling alleys and spas will need to remain closed for now. The Government is continuing to work with these sectors to establish taskforces to help them to become COVID Secure and reopen as soon as possible.

•    While the infection rate continues to fall, the Prime Minister has been clear that the public must continue to follow social distancing guidelines to keep coronavirus under control. The Government will keep all measures under constant review and will not hesitate to apply the handbrake, or reverse measures, should the virus begin to run out of control.

Shielding
Yesterday, the Health Secretary and Deputy Chief Medical Officer explained that from 1 August, the present shielding programme for the extremely vulnerable will be paused, and the guidance altered from 6 July to enable more freedom for those people.

There is more information for those who are shielding HERE.  Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jenny Harries outlined in detail exactly why she and her colleagues believe this is a safe course of action for those most vulnerable.  She also outlined how people might be asked to shield again should there be a change in the alert level, and how that might be different to the shielding programme currently in place.  You can watch the whole press conference, where she explains the changes HERE.

The restrictions we have all faced over the past few months have been the toughest curtailing of our freedoms since the Second World War.  They were not put in place lightly and they are being relaxed cautiously.  I do appreciate that some people may wonder why certain guidelines have been relaxed and not others.  The Prime Minister explains this in his statement HERE.

Best wishes

Anne-Marie

KEEPING CONNECTED NEWS

Posted on

Jane Pannell’s 13th newsletter to those involved in Keeping Lowick and District Connected is published below.

STITCHERS AND CUTTERS

Our sewers in Lowick Village Hall are continuing their sterling work and Annie Robertson reports this week:

The team are still busy making items but requests this week have been focused on face coverings. We had a request for 330 for the GP surgeries which are non-medical coverings and for patients to wear. We had anticipated a need so have provided 210 so far. An additional request came in today for another 100 for GP surgeries in south Northumberland.

And Annie will let us know if there’s a need for transport or materials or anything else.

TRANSPORT TO HOSPITAL

Transport continues to be an issue for people needing to get to hospital and at least one of our volunteers is helping whenever there’s a need. So, don’t forget that we have willing people to help where there’s an appointment for treatment, check-ups etc.

HEALTHWATCH NORTHUMBERLAND NEEDS LOCKDOWN EXPERIENCES

And on the topic of the health service, Healthwatch Northumberland tells us that few people in the north have been in touch and they ask for stories about our experience of the NHS/social care system during the pandemic.

We’re here for you at this time and wants to hear about the NHS, health and social care services you, or someone you care for, have used during the pandemic. Whether you’ve accessed emergency services, mental health services, had a video appointment with your doctor, had treatment delayed or still had a great experience with services, we’d like to hear from you. You can use our ‘tell us your story’ feedback page: healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk/tell-us-your-coronavirus-story/, email: info@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk, call 03332 408468 or message us on Facebook or Twitter.

We’re holding a series of online forums on issues such as mental health, special educational needs and disabilities and dementia. On Wednesday 15 July we would like carers to come along and share your views and experiences with us at our forum: Unpaid Carers and Mental Health Services. This will take place between 2pm and 3pm, via Zoom, but if you can’t take part or would rather speak to us individually, the team will be available after the forum from 3pm -4pm to hear about your experiences. For more information, please contact Laura Kane: laurak@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk. We’d love you to get involved.

GETTING BACK TO WORK IF YOU HAVE LOST YOUR JOB

We know that many people have lost their jobs with what they perceive to be slight prospects of employment. They form another group of people for whom depression and isolation can be very sharp and difficult at this time. Well, the Bridges scheme is available to help people of working age throughout Northumberland and the scheme also offers a volunteering opportunity. See the Bridges Scheme Item for FULL DETAILS.

POLICE AND CRIME SURVEY

And the Police and Crime Commissioner, through the Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit, has commissioned a survey into the pressures experienced during lockdown. This LINK  will enable you to complete the survey.

ANOTHER SCAM

Unhelpfully there’s another evil scam – by telephone this time – please see TELEPHONE SCAM STORY for the way the call goes and do your best to advise people NOT to respond!

ANNE-MARIE TREVELYAN WRITES…

And our MP, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, has written: I would through your weekly update like to take this opportunity to thank all the organisations and individuals who have come forward during this Covid19 emergency to help those who have found coping with the lockdown instructions and in particular the very vulnerable, extremely challenging. The organisers and volunteers who have given up their time and energy to help others have the heartfelt thanks from us all.  Their actions have been inspiring and a example of true community spirit at a time of real peril.  As we come out of the lockdown I would ask that everyone follows the current social distancing measures and remembers to keep washing and sanitising hands regularly and wear a face covering whilst on public transport and where social distancing is not possible. We will come through this pandemic because we are a great community. Thank you all.

A FINAL SILENCE ON THE 4TH OF JULY

We’re waiting for details of the proposed minute’s silence on the 4th July and the final clap-in on the 5th

 

CHURCHES OPEN FOR PRIVATE PRAYER

Posted on

Good news this week is that the lockdown on churches is partially lifted so that people can go for private prayer. No services yet!  Church people are doing risk assessments and devising ways of keeping us all safe – so check with your church to discover the current situation. Here’s what Jane has managed to glean so far:

  • St John the Baptist Church, Lowick open at all times – hand sanitiser at the door together with guidance about use of the church. Individuals visiting are recommended to use the right-hand side of the front pew, behind the offertory candles. The Area Dean, Rob Kelsey, conducts online services robert.josephkelsey@live.com
  • Berwick Parish Church is open from 1 – 4 from Monday to Friday if you’re in town
  • Wooler URC is going through its risk assessments etc and details of opening arrangements will be on their website – www.woolerurc.org.uk – and in the meantime weekly services over the summer are concentrating on selected Psalms
  • St Ninian’s Roman Catholic Church, Wooler – no information currently available
  • Wooler Evangelical Church – no plans to open building as yet but invitation to access weekly Sunday messages posted as videos on our church website: https://www.wooler-evangelical.org.uk/ and contact the minster Michael Veitch michaelgveitch@yahoo.co.uk