Latest guidance and health advice
The prime minister has put the whole country in lockdown which means you must stay at home, apart from limited exemptions. See full details on the national lockdown guidance.
Breaking lockdown rules is against the law. If you notice someone breaking the rules, you can report them on the Bedfordshire Police website. If you spot any businesses not complying please email [email protected].
Get a test: everyone living, working or studying in Luton can now get a free Covid-19 test, whether they have symptoms or not.
- Latest guidance
- National lockdown - what you can and can't do
- Clinically extremely vulnerable and clinically vulnerable groups
- Information on testing, self-isolation and test and trace
- Where to get medical help
- NHS Covid-19 app
Latest guidance (including lockdown rules)
One in three people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and will be spreading it without realising it. A new variant of the coronavirus is spreading even quicker.
The best thing we can all do to keep each other safe is:
- hands – wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds
- face – wear a face covering where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet
- space – stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with
- self-isolate at home if you (or anyone in your household) is displaying symptoms or tests positive for Covid-19; or if you have been contacted by Test and Trace to say you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive
- get a test, even if you don’t have symptoms
National lockdown - what you can and cannot do
You must stay at home. The single most important action we can all take is to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.
Please make sure you read and understand the rules and guidance. A summary of the rules are set out below.
Stay at home
You must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary. You may leave the home to:
- shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
- go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
- exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area
- meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
- seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
- attend education or childcare - for those eligible
Meeting up with others
You cannot leave your home to meet socially with anyone you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with (if you are legally permitted to form one).
You may exercise on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble.
You should not meet other people you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, unless for a permitted reason.
Stay two metres apart from anyone not in your household.
Work and education
Everyone who can work from home should do so. Where people cannot do so, they should continue to travel to their workplace.
Colleges, primary and secondary schools will remain open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until February half term. Early Years settings remain open.
Higher Education provision will remain online until mid-February for all except future critical worker courses.
Travel and accommodation
If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay local in the village, town, or part of the city where you live and you may leave your local area for a legally permitted reason, such as for work.
You should not be travelling abroad except for permitted reasons.
You cannot leave home for holidays or stays overnight.
Walk or cycle where possible, and plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.
Avoid car sharing with anyone from outside your household or your support bubble.
Weddings, funerals and places of worship
Places of worship remain open for services, but you cannot mingle with anyone you don't live with and keep socially distancing.
Wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, receptions and funerals should only take place in COVID-secure venues or in public outdoor spaces, unless in exceptional circumstances.
Receptions and wakes should be sit down meals to ensure people can keep their distance from each other and must not take place in private dwellings.
You can have up to:
- 6 people for weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and receptions
- up to a maximum of 30 people for funerals
- 6 people for wakes or linked ceremonial events (such as stone-settings) before or after the funeral
You can attend places of worship for a service. However, you must not socialise with anyone outside of your household or support bubble. You should follow the national guidance on the safe use of places of worship.
Guidance for visits to care homes means that visits to care homes can take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows. Close-contact indoor visits are not allowed.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (also known as the furlough scheme) will remain open until the end of April 2021, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500.
It will operate as the previous scheme did, with businesses being paid upfront to cover wages costs.
The thought of a tightening of restrictions will be upsetting and challenging for many of us. If you are worried about your physical or emotional health, please talk to someone. There are many organisations that offer help and support that will be happy to help.
Please also see:
- enabling safe and effective volunteering during coronavirus (COVID-19)
- guidance for meeting people from outside your household
- making a childcare bubble with another household
- safer travel guidance for passengers for walking, cycling, and travelling in vehicles or on public transport during the coronavirus outbreak
- advice on using green spaces safely to protect yourself and others
- guidance for visiting care homes during the coronavirus pandemic
- guidance for the safe use of places of worship and special religious services and gatherings
- guidance for people planning to get married or form a civil partnership
- guidance for funerals during the coronavirus pandemic
- our business pages for guidance for safety in the work place
- full list of local restriction tiers by area
Clinically extremely vulnerable and clinically vulnerable groups
If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. You should not attend work.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) can make anyone seriously ill. But for some people, the risk is higher.
There are two levels of higher risk:
- high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable) - group which has been shielding
- moderate risk (clinically vulnerable)
High risk - clinically extremely vulnerable
People with certain medical conditions are classed as being clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus.
Those individuals who have been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable are being advised to shield again.
The government has written a letter with details of the guidance you should follow. You are advised to only leave home for exercise or for health appointments.
- Work - you are strongly advised to work from home. If you cannot work from home, then you should not attend work.
- School – If your doctor has confirmed that your child is clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus you should not attend school and make arrangements with the school to continue your education at home.
- Socialising - You can go outside, but try to keep all contact with others outside of your household to a minimum, and avoid busy areas
You can register your details with the National Shielding Service to get to get access to:
- priority supermarket delivery slots
- local voluntary support to help with things such as prescriptions and essential items you need
If you're in need of more urgent support please call the Covid-19 Community team on 01582 548955 (9am to 5pm weekdays, except Wednesdays 10am to 5pm).
Moderate risk (over 60s and clinically vulnerable)
If you are over 60 or clinically vulnerable, you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. You:
- should be especially careful to follow the rules and minimise your contacts with others
- should continue to wash your hands carefully and more frequently than usual and maintain thorough cleaning of frequently touched areas in your home and/or workspace
Clinically vulnerable include people who:
- are 70 or older
- have a lung condition that's not severe (such as asthma, COPD, emphysema or bronchitis)
- have heart disease (such as heart failure)
- have diabetes
- have chronic kidney disease
- have liver disease (such as hepatitis)
- have a condition affecting the brain or nerves (such as Parkinson's disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy)
- have a condition that means they have a high risk of getting infections
- are taking medicine that can affect the immune system (such as low doses of steroids)
- are very obese (a BMI of 40 or above)
- are pregnant – see advice about pregnancy and coronavirus
Unlike people at high risk, you will not get a letter from the NHS.
If you're at moderate risk from coronavirus, you can go out to work (if you cannot work from home) and for things like getting food or exercising. But you should try to stay at home as much as possible.
It's very important you follow the general advice on social distancing. This includes trying to stay at least 2 meters (3 steps) away from anyone you do not live with or anyone not in your support bubble.
Where to get medical help
Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:
- you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
- your condition gets worse
- your symptoms do not get better after seven days
Only call NHS 111 if you cannot get help online.
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