This briefing focuses on local issues and updates from the County Council including local Covid-19 data and Household Waste and Recycling Centres.
The briefing also provides an update on national guidance and announcements and the latest national data on vaccinations, cases and deaths.
Please note that during the pre-election period of restricted activity, the Covid-19 briefings will only report Covid-19 council business and factual national information regarding the pandemic. The briefings will continue to follow the usual pattern (Mon, Wed and Fri) but may not be issued if there is insufficient new information to report.
Members are kindly reminded to direct any coronavirus related queries and comments to the dedicated inbox - firstname.lastname@example.org
Local Covid-19 data
The County Council will today (29 March) publish the latest weekly Covid-19 data summary.
The total number of cases in Hampshire since March 2020 is now 62,802 and there have been 436 cases confirmed in the last seven days.
The county’s current weekly case rate is 29.8 per 100,000 population and remains below the England case rate at 56.
There have been 2,774 Covid-19 associated deaths in Hampshire since March 2020 and 18 deaths reported in the last seven days.
In Hampshire, 659,427 people have been vaccinated with at least one dose and 100,237 people have been vaccinated with at least one dose in the last seven days.
The full data dashboard is available on the Keep Hampshire Safe webpage.
Household Waste and Recycling Centres
The County Council is reminding residents to ensure they pre-book Household Waste and Recycling Centre (HWRC) slots before attending. The HWRCs are expected to be busier than usual over the Easter weekend and residents are reminded that bookings are currently limited to one slot per household per week and are asked to cancel their booking if they are no longer able to attend. The HWRC booking system offers more than 50,000 booking slots each week and, from 1 April, sites will be open for longer: 9am – 6pm every day during the summer months. While at HWRCs, residents are urged to adhere to social distancing and follow the rules in place at the sites to keep everyone safe.
National Covid-19 cases, deaths and vaccines data
The Covid-19 vaccination daily data shows that up to 27 March, a total of 30,151,287 people have received the 1st dose and a total of 3,527,481 people have received the 2nd dose.
As of 4pm on 28 March, the total number of people tested positive for Covid-19 was 4,333,042 and daily number of lab-confirmed cases was 3,862. The total number of Covid-19 associated deaths within 28 days of a positive test was 126,592 with 19 deaths reported on the day. The data is available to view online.
The R number range for the UK is 0.7 to 0.9 and the growth rate range is -5% to -2% per day as of 26 March.
Roadmap – Step 1
From today (29 March), further restrictions are eased, as outlined in the Government’s Covid-19 Response Spring 2021, which sets out the roadmap out of the current lockdown for England. The guidance on ‘what you can and cannot do’ has been updated.
Hands, Face, Space and Fresh Air
In a new government campaign, the public will be urged ‘Let’s take this next step safely’. The public are reminded they must stay outside when meeting others in a new film which will be released this evening (29 March). The film highlights the impact of fresh air on reducing the risk of transmission and forms part of wider government ‘Hands, Face, Space and Fresh Air’.
Guidance on the safe use of council buildings
Updated guidance has been published following confirmation that emergency legislation regarding virtual council meetings will not be extended. Regulations on virtual council meetings introduced at start of the pandemic will end on 7 May. A letter from the Minister for Local Government, Luke Hall, has been circulated to the leaders of all principal councils outlining the changes.
Councils are also being encouraged by the Government to share their experiences via a call for evidence about how remote meetings have been used to inform any potential future legislation regarding their use beyond the pandemic.
Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme
The Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme has been allocated an additional £12.9 million per month to enable local authorities to support those self-isolating.
The SHARE checklist has been updated, it aims to build public resilience to health misinformation and in turn help stop the spread of harmful and misleading information.
Health and disability benefits
In line with the latest public health guidance and adhering to strict safety protocols, the Department for Work and Pension has confirmed plans to begin reintroducing face-to-face assessments for health and disability benefits.
Retail opening hours
It has been confirmed that when they reopen from 12 April at the earliest, shops will have the flexibility to open until 10pm Monday to Saturday.
The Department for Education has updated its Covid-19 guidance for children's social care services. This includes guidance for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in accordance with the latest quarantine guidelines and reflects the extension to existing regulatory flexibilities up to 30 September.
Ofsted has confirmed it will not return to a full programme of graded inspections until September. It will, however undertake on-site, lighter-touch inspections in the summer term.
Guidance for schools
The guidance for schools during the Covid-19 pandemic has been updated with new information on operational guidance on Test and Trace support payments, the expectations for clinically extremely vulnerable pupils and staff, educational visits, wraparound provision and extra-curricular activity, physical activity in schools and inspections and added guidance on year 11 to 13 exam cohort attendance and provision for the 2021 summer term.
Adults’ social care and public health
Vaccination priority list
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has advised the Government to prioritise people for the Covid-19 vaccine who are over 16 and living with adults who have weakened immune systems, such as those with blood cancer, HIV or those on immunosuppressive treatment including chemotherapy.
Mental health and wellbeing
The Covid-19 mental health and wellbeing recovery action plan has been published, it sets out a cross-government, whole-person approach to promoting positive mental health and supporting people living with mental illness to recover and live well.
Lateral Flow Test video explainer
An animated video, made by Public Health England, which provides an introduction to the use of lateral flow tests is now available in 12 additional languages and British Sign Language.
Economy, business and finance
Employer testing duty
New guidance has been issued outlining the employer testing duty. This duty requires employers whose staff travel regularly across UK borders to take reasonable steps to facilitate employees to take tests.
From 6 April, the workplace testing programme will supply home test kits to companies with over 10 workers where it is not possible to set up testing on-site, due to a lack of space or because companies operate across multiple sites.
Environment, transport and travel
Testing regime for international arrivals
A new testing regime has been outlined for international arrivals who will be exempt from quarantine for work purposes, including for hauliers arriving from outside the Common Travel Area into England.
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