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The return of local restrictions/guidance

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brad465

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The Government have now decided 8 areas that the Indian variant is said to be spreading in significantly are now having "stay local" guidance applied, while those outside those areas are advised not to travel to them:


The government has advised people not to travel into and out of areas hardest hit by the Indian variant of Covid-19 unless necessary, it has emerged.
Health officials said it was spreading fastest in Bolton, Blackburn, Kirklees, Bedford, Burnley, Leicester, Hounslow and North Tyneside.
Bolton in Greater Manchester recorded 451 cases per 100,000 people in the week to 20 May, the highest in England.
People living in the affected areas are also asked not to meet indoors.
On Friday, the government issued guidance on its website where it recommended those living in the listed areas:
  • Meet outside rather than inside where possible
  • Keep two metres apart from people who you do not live with (unless you have formed a support bubble with them), this includes friends and family you don't live with
  • Avoid travelling in and out of affected areas unless it is essential, for example for work (if you cannot work from home) or education
The guidance appears to have been updated on Friday, without any government announcement, to include the eight affected areas - although it was first given earlier in the month for Blackburn and Bolton.
A televised Downing Street briefing on Wednesday focused heavily on the Indian variant - but did not outline any specific rules or guidance for those areas.
Layla Moran, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on coronavirus, said this risked causing "confusion and uncertainty".
She said: "This is a major change to policy that will have a huge impact on people's lives. Simply updating the government website without an official announcement is a recipe for confusion and uncertainty.
"Local people and public health leaders in these areas need urgent clarity from the government. Matt Hancock must come before Parliament and make a public statement to explain these new rules.
"It seems crucial lessons have still not been learnt about the importance of clear messaging during a pandemic."

So much for ditching the highly controversial local restrictions, I do not expect these to go down quietly (and hope they don't).
 
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Gloster

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Not exactly a worry for me, but what about all those who have booked holidays? It would not surprise me if a number of countries that are currently accepting tourists bring in entry restrictions. The tabloid press is going to go bonkers. However, how many people are going to ignore this and spread the lurgi to other areas?
 

Huntergreed

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“Cautious, but irreversible

Enough said, that says everything you need to know about what they think of this.
 

STINT47

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And so the cycle of freedom followed by lockdown begins again.

Make the most of this current time as it has a horrible feeling on inevitability that things are going to get worse.
 

seagull

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When will they ban all traffic on all roads too, as a few people die each week using them, apparently.
 

Shaw S Hunter

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Some people here really need to calm down. This is simply guidance, no restrictions are being imposed. Just a way of highlighting a slightly higher level of risk in certain areas. If it was the other way round so that information about localised higher infection rates was being suppressed the same people would doubtless complain about lack of transparency or outright censorship. It also underlines that the pandemic won't suddenly finish everywhere at the same time and that is bound to cause variation in exactly how things return to "normal". Also note that there is now evidence that the current vaccines provide a very similar level of protection against the Indian variant as against all the others but those people falling ill with it have almost invariably not been vaccinated.
 

seagull

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My point still stands: it's not done with other areas of equal or, nowadays, more, risk to human life, so one can forgive the bafflement with which the reactions to Covid are viewed.
 

yorksrob

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Guidance to be ignored.

The Government let the varient in and squandered the gains made last time, so bollocks to them.
 

DelayRepay

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Some people here really need to calm down. This is simply guidance, no restrictions are being imposed. Just a way of highlighting a slightly higher level of risk in certain areas. If it was the other way round so that information about localised higher infection rates was being suppressed the same people would doubtless complain about lack of transparency or outright censorship. It also underlines that the pandemic won't suddenly finish everywhere at the same time and that is bound to cause variation in exactly how things return to "normal". Also note that there is now evidence that the current vaccines provide a very similar level of protection against the Indian variant as against all the others but those people falling ill with it have almost invariably not been vaccinated.

I think the worry is whether this is a sign of things to come. Remember last year when the first lockdown was eased, it applied to everywhere except Leicester. My fear, if I lived in one of these areas, would be that the next announcement will be that the 21 June easing will go ahead except in Bedford, Bolton, Blackburn etc, with those areas subject to continued restrictions with three weekly reviews.

The vaccines will help but given that two doses are needed, and the time available between now and 21 June, the vaccine programme is unlikely to result in a material change over the next few weeks, even if they go hell for leather in these areas.
 

yorksrob

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There always seems to be one of my neighbouring areas involved, which makes me uneasy.
 
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Ianno87

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Permission to scream at the walls, please? (My Mum lives in Bolton and barely gets to see me or her Grandkids)
 

Smidster

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Permission to scream at the walls, please? (My Mum lives in Bolton and barely gets to see me or her Grandkids)

She still can - This is guidance and nothing more.

Isn't this more what you would want from public health messaging? Instead of imposing legal restrictions they are saying that these are areas where there are issues but ultimately allowing people to make their own decisions about the risks (or lack thereof)
 

rg177

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So well publicised that I've begun an ALR this morning and realised several hours too late that I apparently shouldn't have gone more than about 15 stops on my bus to the border with Newcastle.

North Tyneside currently still has relatively low levels of infection anyway (54 per 100k) so while I'd rather we didn't end up like Bolton, you can bet that people are going to completely ignore this.

Half term is also next week and you can bet that people who've booked trips away aren't going to suddenly give them up.
 
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Ianno87

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She still can - This is guidance and nothing more.

Isn't this more what you would want from public health messaging? Instead of imposing legal restrictions they are saying that these are areas where there are issues but ultimately allowing people to make their own decisions about the risks (or lack thereof)

I wish the guidance would explicitly say that. For example: "If you do wish to travel outside the area for any reason, please consider the number of people you interact with to minimise the risk of doing so" (or something like that)
 

yorksrob

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She still can - This is guidance and nothing more.

Isn't this more what you would want from public health messaging? Instead of imposing legal restrictions they are saying that these are areas where there are issues but ultimately allowing people to make their own decisions about the risks (or lack thereof)

It's whether it will remain guidance or whether it represents the first slip into the same fiasco as last year.

I wish the guidance would explicitly say that. For example: "If you do wish to travel outside the area for any reason, please consider the number of people you interact with to minimise the risk of doing so" (or something like that)

Oh, they'll never do that. They prefer opaqueness so that the unquestioning people are more likely to comply.
 

duncanp

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I think the worry is whether this is a sign of things to come. Remember last year when the first lockdown was eased, it applied to everywhere except Leicester. My fear, if I lived in one of these areas, would be that the next announcement will be that the 21 June easing will go ahead except in Bedford, Bolton, Blackburn etc, with those areas subject to continued restrictions with three weekly reviews.

The vaccines will help but given that two doses are needed, and the time available between now and 21 June, the vaccine programme is unlikely to result in a material change over the next few weeks, even if they go hell for leather in these areas.

The rate of increase in the number of cases in Bolton, Blackburn, Kirklees etc is definitely slowing. (see my post in the support conversation thread)

This means that in the next few weeks, and in particular by June 14th (when the government has to make a final decision about step 4 of the roadmap) we should see cases falling in these areas.

The number of cases will have a bearing on the number of hospitalisations, which will in turn have a bearing on the extent to which restrictions can be eased in these areas.

So if the figures show that the outbreaks in these areas have been contained, and there is no risk of the NHS being "overwhelmed", then the restrictions can safely be eased at the same time as everywhere else.

I agree that these local restrictions have uncomfortable echoes of what happened last summer. but the big difference now is that we have the vaccines, which we know are sufficiently effective against the Indian variant compared to other existing variants.
 

nlogax

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The number of cases will have a bearing on the number of hospitalisations, which will in turn have a bearing on the extent to which restrictions can be eased in these areas.

Due to vaccinations, less of a bearing on hospitalisation numbers than in previous months.
 

duncanp

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Due to vaccinations, less of a bearing on hospitalisation numbers than in previous months.

Absolutely, I agree.

This is what the government is waiting for - figures on exactly how many people are hospitalised compared to how many cases there are, and crucially the proportion of vaccinated/unvaccinated patients amongst the hospitalisations.

I think for Bolton the data is already showing that most hospitalisations are occurring in unvaccinated people, and this is borne out by the age related heat map on the dashboard, where the biggest increase in rates is amongst the younger age groups, who by and large are still to be vaccinated.

The continuing roll out of the vaccine program will also affect future hospitalisations, particularly as they are shortening the time in between doses in the worst affected areas, so as to increase the level of protection offered in the quickest possible time.
 

philosopher

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Some people here really need to calm down. This is simply guidance, no restrictions are being imposed. Just a way of highlighting a slightly higher level of risk in certain areas. If it was the other way round so that information about localised higher infection rates was being suppressed the same people would doubtless complain about lack of transparency or outright censorship. It also underlines that the pandemic won't suddenly finish everywhere at the same time and that is bound to cause variation in exactly how things return to "normal". Also note that there is now evidence that the current vaccines provide a very similar level of protection against the Indian variant as against all the others but those people falling ill with it have almost invariably not been vaccinated.
It is true that you can ignore guidance. The problem with ignoring guidance on social contact is that it requires the person you are meeting or want to meet to also agree to ignore it. If you are OK meeting up indoors but your friend refuses to because they say the guidance is not to meet indoors then you can’t meet up indoors.
 

johntea

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There always seems to be one of my neighbouring areas involved, which makes me uneasy.

Don't worry, the 'Yorkshire variant' seems to also be creeping into the picture now if you feel left out! Based on what was said on Andrew Marr on Sunday expect similar 'advice' for places like Sheffield sooner rather than later...stay at home, put t'kettle on and have some Yorkshire tea ;)
 

yorksrob

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Don't worry, the 'Yorkshire variant' seems to also be creeping into the picture now if you feel left out! Based on what was said on Andrew Marr on Sunday expect similar 'advice' for places like Sheffield sooner rather than later...stay at home, put t'kettle on and have some Yorkshire tea ;)

Yes, I read about that - controlled with a strict course of Yorkshire Tea, Yorkshire ale and Yorkshire Pudding.
 

Watershed

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The sanctimonious will use this guidance as an excuse for guilt tripping people for undertaking legal and safe activities.

The police, local councils etc. will no doubt parrot that you "must" not travel to/from the affected areas.

The local businesses are the ones that will suffer as a result, yet they will not receive anything to compensate them for their losses.

And all this, despite the fact that we know that local restrictions (let alone guidance) are highly ineffective. This is blatantly a bottom-covering exercise, so the government can later say "ah, but we told you not to mix/travel/go out etc."

I wonder just how long it will take for the public to wake up and smell the coffee...
 

Ianno87

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The sanctimonious will use this guidance as an excuse for guilt tripping people for undertaking legal and safe activities.

The police, local councils etc. will no doubt parrot that you "must" not travel to/from the affected areas.

The local businesses are the ones that will suffer as a result, yet they will not receive anything to compensate them for their losses.

And all this, despite the fact that we know that local restrictions (let alone guidance) are highly ineffective. This is blatantly a bottom-covering exercise, so the government can later say "ah, but we told you not to mix/travel/go out etc."

I wonder just how long it will take for the public to wake up and smell the coffee...

A Tweet from Jen Williams (from the Manchester Evening News) quotes the government as saying the updated guidance is "just a formality". Read into that what you will...
 

LAX54

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Austria have just barred visitors from the UK, due the 'new' varient
 

yorksrob

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Hooray, we're the international pariahs yet again. So soon after the last time.
 

Snow1964

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Local restrictions should exist for the hotspots, and driving mobile testing locations and vaccine buses there would seem obvious

A quick glance at the map shows about half the land mass yellow, under 10 per 100,000 (or in more logical terminology less than one in ten thousand), often with no hospitalisations for days.


Need to be tougher on the hotspots, and at same time abandon restrictions for areas under about 5 per 100,000. When only one person in 20,000 has covid, preaching like everyone locally is high risk is pointless
 

Bantamzen

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Hooray, we're the international pariahs yet again. So soon after the last time.
And to make things better, its our reaction that causes it. The UK's obsession with uber-testing the population has led to us being permanently under the infection rate microscope. How many other countries are wanting everyone to test at least twice a week.

At this point the only figures that matter are those ending up in hospitals and deaths. If these remain low & vaccine take-up remains at its current levels, we should be heading in the opposite direction and looking at considering declaring the pandemic at an end.
 

yorksrob

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And to make things better, its our reaction that causes it. The UK's obsession with uber-testing the population has led to us being permanently under the infection rate microscope. How many other countries are wanting everyone to test at least twice a week.

At this point the only figures that matter are those ending up in hospitals and deaths. If these remain low & vaccine take-up remains at its current levels, we should be heading in the opposite direction and looking at considering declaring the pandemic at an end.

Indeed. The phrase "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing" springs to mind.
 
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