Last night, the Government announced a new national lockdown, which came into force straightaway, with the new laws reinforcing the restrictions in place by the end of today. This action has been taken by the Government due to a significant rise in infection rates across the country, caused by a new strain of coronavirus which is much more transmissible. The Government is concerned the impact that this is having on our hospitals, which are under more pressure from coronavirus than any time since the start of the pandemic.
We have been told that we must stay indoors other than for limited exceptions – such as essential medical needs, food shopping, exercise and work that cannot be done at home. Schools and colleges have been told that they must move to remote teaching for the majority of students until at least half-term. The full guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home
On a positive note, the Oxford vaccine has now been approved and has started to be rolled out. The Government is aiming to offer one dose of the vaccine to all care home residents and their carers; everyone aged 70 and over; all frontline health and social care workers; and, the clinically extremely vulnerable by mid-February.
I’m pleased to tell you that St Richard’s Hospital started vaccinating people yesterday and more vaccination sites will become operational over the coming days. Larger vaccination centres will also be opened – most likely in February. More details on the vaccination programme in Sussex can be found here: https://www.sussexhealthandcare.uk/keepsussexsafe/sussex-covid-19-vaccination-programme/ and we will continue to update you when we receive more information. Please note that St Richard’s Hospital is not mentioned in the lists we have provided, but we can confirm that people have started to be vaccinated at this site. The website also includes what to expect when you have your vaccination and a detailed list of FAQs, which can be found here: https://www.sussexhealthandcare.uk/keepsussexsafe/sussex-covid-19-vaccination-programme/faqs-about-the-covid-19-vaccine/ This page also provides contact details if people have a question or want to give feedback – you may find this useful:
I know how hard the past nine months has been for everyone and that a further lockdown is yet a further challenge that we have to face, but I want to assure you that we are here to support you through the months ahead.