Coronavirus

This briefing focuses on local issues and updates from the County Council and its partners on topics including HWRCs, the social distancing scheme in Romsey and adult social care.

 

The briefing also provides an update on national guidance and announcements and the latest national data on cases and deaths.

 

Members are kindly reminded to direct any coronavirus related queries and comments to the dedicated inbox - coronavirus.memberqueries@hants.gov.uk 

Edition No. 74

29 June 2020

Local context

Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs)

The County Council has announced that following careful monitoring of the HWRC booking system and taking into account comments and feedback received, some further adjustments to the arrangements will be made. From this week, the number of available slots at each site will be increased by allowing more visits to be booked in each 30-minute window. The number of slots available each day will increase to 5,000 in total across Hampshire’s network of 24 sites. In addition, improvements will be made to the booking system to allow some slots to be booked up to 7 days ahead, rather than just 48-hours ahead.

Bookings for HWRCs can be made online, or alternatively via a telephone booking line, primarily for those without access to the online system, on 023 8017 9949.

Romsey Social Distancing Scheme

The County Council has announced that further measures to help safe social distancing will be implemented in Romsey Town Centre, including closing The Hundred to through traffic. In the press release, the Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment, Cllr Rob Humby, confirmed that the schemes are experimental and they have had to be introduced quickly; if they do not prove to be effective, the measures will reversed.

For more information about similar schemes across Hampshire visit the travel webpage, additionally please see the Hampshire Covid Travel FAQs.

Adult social care

A recent survey by the Hampshire Care Association (HCA), of which Hampshire County Council is a member, has shown that costs associated with dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic grew by just under 20% between February and May. The County Council and the HCA are urging the Government to fast track plans for sustainable long-term funding for adult social care as there is concern about the medium and longer term future for the sector.

 

In the press release, the Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health, Cllr Liz Fairhurst, is quoted: “A thriving care home sector offering high quality and safe care is vital for Hampshire.  Not only do we want to be assured that the county has the capacity to support the increasing number of vulnerable local people who require care and support, but a robust independent care sector is important for the local economy too.”

Short Break Activities Consultation

In recognition that the Covid-19 pandemic could affect people’s ability to take part in consultations, the County Council extended the Short Breaks consultation period for an additional six weeks – until midnight on 12 July 2020.  From today (29 June) there are two more weeks for residents and other stakeholders to have their say. Respond to the Short Breaks consultation.

National context

Communities

Places of worship

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has published guidance to assist places of worship to prepare to open for a broader range of activities on 4 July.

Small marriages and civil partnerships

MHCLG has issued guidance to assist people planning to get married or form a civil partnership, and to assist venues that host ceremonies. The guidance helps them prepare for small ceremonies to be allowed to restart in accordance with the associated legislation which will come into effect on 4 July.

Economy and business

Sustainable Innovation Fund 
The Government’s £200m Sustainable Innovation Fund launched on Saturday 27 June. It is open to businesses who need urgent financial support to help them drive forward cutting-edge new tech and recover from the impacts of Covid-19. Businesses can apply for support through the Sustainable Innovation Fund by visiting the Innovate UK website.

MOT testing

Roads minister, Baroness Vere, has announced mandatory MOT testing is to be reintroduced from 1 August. Due to the Coviid-19 pandemic, drivers were granted a 6-month exemption from MOT testing in March. Drivers with an MOT due date before 1 August will still receive a 6-month exemption from testing. 

Zoos and aquariums

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has announced that zoos and aquariums, which are covered by the Zoo Licensing Act, will be able to bid for a portion of £100 million new funding to help mitigate the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Research
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has announced two new support packages to provide greater job protection to researchers, scientists and technicians working at UK universities during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Food businesses
The Government has updated the advice for food businesses in response to the pandemic, to include a new section on prevention of infection and a revised section on the management of outbreaks, including contact details for health protection teams.

Children and schools

School rebuilding programme

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has announced a ten-year school rebuilding programme. The rebuilding programme will start in 2020-21 with the first 50 projects, supported by over £1 billion in funding. Further details of the new, multi-wave ten-year construction programme will be set out at the next Spending Review.

Universities
The Government has announced that following large numbers of students applying to study healthcare courses, they will extend the timetable for universities to apply for extra places to Friday 17 July, and to cover additional bids over the initial 5,000.

Technology support for children and schools

The Department for Education has updated the guidance on how to obtain digital devices with further clarifications, including emphasising that devices are for education and social care, adding information on protecting children and young people online, and linking to guidance on loaning or gifting devices.

Adults' social care and public health

Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine 

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has released a statement warning members of the public that Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are not licensed to treat Covid-19 related symptoms or prevent infection.

Domestic abuse

The Home Office has updated the domestic abuse support guidance with more specific information on how to get help during the Covid-19 pandemic if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse.

Environment, place and travel

Public health measures at the border

The Government has confirmed that the health measures at the UK border will gradually be eased, allowing passengers to be exempted from self-isolation requirements in certain circumstances on arrival in the UK. This will apply to international rail, maritime, and aviation.

 

The Joint Biosecurity Centre has developed a categorisation of countries and territories from which it is considered to present a lower risk from a public health perspective for passengers to enter the UK, without a requirement for 14 days’ self-isolation. The Government will announce further details including a full list of the countries and territories later this week. Separately, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is reviewing its travel advice. Further details will be announced later this week.

Playgrounds and outdoor gyms

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has published guidance for owners and operators of playgrounds and outdoor gyms to enable their use from 4 July while minimising the transmission risk of Covid-19.

Re-opening public toilets and tips

The Local Government Minister, Simon Clarke, and Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow, have written to councils outlining the Government’s position on public access to household waste recycling centres and municipal public toilets.

Traffic regulation orders

The Department for Transport has issued guidance on the traffic orders procedure regulations during the Covid-19 pandemic.    

National Covid-19 data

Latest R number range

The R number range for the UK is 0.7-0.9 and the growth rate range is -4% to -2% as of 25 June 2020. The data is available to view online.

Cases

As of 4pm on 29 June, the total number of lab-confirmed cases was 311,965. The daily number of lab-confirmed cases was 815. The total number of Covid-19 associated deaths was 43,575, with 25 new deaths reported on the day. The data is available to view online.

Additional links

Deborah Harkin

Assistant Chief Executive

 

For any queries, please contact coronavirus.memberqueries@hants.gov.uk

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