COVID-19: Local tier and travel corridor changes as cases soar

Coronavirus cases continue to soar worldwide, with UK numbers reaching 23,065 in the 24 hours to 29th October. There were 280 deaths reported over that same period, taking the total number of COVID-19 related deaths to 58,925.

This week, both France and Germany chose to enforce second national lockdowns to curb the spread of the virus in those countries. And in the US, the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering recorded an unprecedented daily rise of 90,000 new infections. With almost 9 million cases in total, the US is the worst affected country in the world.

Globally, as at 30th October, there had been 44,592,789 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 1,175,553 deaths, reported to WHO.

Travel corridors

Cyprus and Lithuania will this weekend be removed from the UK's travel corridors exempt list. Countries, territories and regions can be taken off or added to this travel corridor list at any time. Companies may access live email alerts whenever a change is made by signing up here: https://www.gov.uk/email-signup/?topic=/transport/aviation-passenger-experience

UK local alert levels

Manchester, Liverpool, Nottingham and Lancashire are amongst the most recent areas to be placed under the harshest COVID restrictions. A complete and live list of COVID alert levels by UK area is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/full-list-of-local-covid-alert-levels-by-area

Whilst reports of a 'Tier 4' are emerging, there are still just 3 local COVID alert levels in England:

Local COVID alert level: Medium covers areas where national restrictions continue to be in place.

This means:

-people must not socialise in groups larger than 6, indoors or outdoors (other than where a legal exemption applies)
-businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law
-certain businesses are required to ensure customers only consume food and drink while seated, and must close between 10pm and 5am
-businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through
-schools, colleges and universities remain open
-places of worship remain open, subject to the rule of 6
-weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees
-exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors, or indoors if the -rule of 6 is followed; there are exceptions for supervised activities for under-18s, and disability sport

Additionally, people must wear a face covering in those areas where this is mandated, and should continue to follow social distancing rules; and work from home where they can effectively do so.

Local COVID alert level: High applies to areas with a higher level of infections where some additional restrictions are in place.

On top of restrictions in alert level medium, business and people in these areas:

-must not socialise with people outside of their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
-must not socialise in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other spaces like beaches or parks (other than where specific exemptions apply in law)
-businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law
-certain businesses are required to ensure customers only consume food and drink while seated, and must close between 10pm and 5am
-businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through
-schools, colleges, universities and places of worship remain open
-weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees
-exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors; these will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with or share a support bubble with; there are exceptions for supervised activities for under-18s, and disability sport.

People can continue to travel to venues or amenities that are open, for work or to access education, but should look to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible.

Local COVID alert level: Very high is for areas with a very high level of infections and where tighter restrictions are in place. The restrictions placed on areas with a very high level of infections can vary, and are based on discussions between central and local government. Businesses are therefore advised to check specific rules in their area (at link above).

At a minimum, this means:

-people must not socialise with people they do not live with or have formed a support bubble with, in any indoor setting or in any private garden or at most outdoor hospitality venues and ticketed events
-people must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in an outdoor public space such as a park or beach, the countryside, a public garden or a sports venue
-pubs and bars must close; they can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant, which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal, and they may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal
-schools, colleges and universities remain open
-places of worship remain open, but household mixing is not permitted
-weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees; however, wedding receptions are not allowed
-exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors; these will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with or share a support bubble with; there are exceptions for supervised activities for under-18s, and disability sport
-people should try to avoid travelling outside the very high alert level area they are in or entering a very high alert level area, other than for work, education or youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if they are travelling through as part of a longer journey
-people should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if they are resident in a very high alert level area, or avoid staying overnight in a very high alert level area if they are resident elsewhere

People must wear a face covering in those areas where this is mandated and should continue to follow social distancing rules, as well as working from home where they can effectively do so.

Additional restrictions, such as the prevention of the sale of alcohol in hospitality or closing all hospitality may be relevant in some of these areas.

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