New restrictions in response to a rise in Covid-19 cases

The Government this week introduced new restrictions in England to help tackle the rise in Covid-19 cases across the country.

They include:

  • workers should work from home where possible
  • all pubs, bars and restaurants must be table service only and must close at 10pm from Thursday 24 September
  • the requirement to wear a face covering has now extended to staff in retail, staff in hospitality and passengers in taxis
  • weddings are now limited to 15 people, funerals remain at a limit of 30 people

Changes have also been made to the exemptions list for the rule of 6.

You can find full details of the changes using the links below:

New restrictions announced on 22 September 2020

Meeting with others safely

Coronavirus FAQs: What you can and cannot do

In Worcestershire we are now starting to see the increasing number of cases of Covid-19 lead to a rise in hospital admissions.

Please do everything you can to play your part in reducing the spread of this virus.

Cllr Bradley Thomas, Leader of Wychavon District Council, made an appeal this week to residents on our social media channels.

Watch Cllr Thomas’ appeal to residents

Protect your loved ones with the NHS Covid-19 app

The NHS Covid-19 app is now available to anyone aged 16 or over who lives in England or Wales.

It is the fastest way to find out if you are at risk of the virus, so you can take action to protect you and your loved ones.

The app has several features:

  • Trace: find out when you’ve been near other app users who have tested positive for coronavirus.
  • Alert: lets you know the level of coronavirus risk in your postcode district.
  • Check-in: get alerted if you’ve visited a venue where you may have come into contact with coronavirus, using a simple QR code scanner. No more form filling.
  • Symptoms: check if you have coronavirus symptoms and see if you need to order a test.
  • Test: helps you order a test if you need to.
  • Isolate: keep track of your self-isolation countdown and access relevant advice.

If someone you have been near to tests positive for Covid-19, NHS doctors and scientists will use an algorithm to work out how close you need to be to someone to be at risk of the virus. A random unique ID will then be used to alert other app users so they can self-isolate immediately and get a test.

The app will help the NHS understand if the virus is spreading in a particular area, so local authorities can respond quickly to stop it spreading further and save lives.

The app does this while protecting a user’s anonymity. Nobody, including the government, will know who or where someone is.

Everyone you love is on your phone. Now your phone can help protect them.

Use the links below to find out more about the app and download it from the App Store and Google Play. Some older devices may not be able to run the app.

Watch the NHS Covid-19 app explainer video

Introducing the NHS Covid-19 app

NHS Covid-19 app privacy FAQs

Factsheet for parents and carers

£500 self-isolation support payment

From 28 September, it will be a legal requirement to self-isolate if you are told to do so by NHS Test and Trace. The Government has introduced a £500 support payment to help people on low incomes who have to self-isolate. We will be responsible for administering these.

To qualify for the payment, you will need to meet all of the criteria below:

  • you have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace
  • you are employed or self-employed
  • you cannot work from home and will lose income as a result
  • you are claiming at least one of the following benefits: Universal Credit, Working Tax Credits, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit or Housing Benefit

Although people will be eligible for payments from 28 September, we are still awaiting the full guidance from the Government on how to implement the scheme. We have until 12 October to get the scheme fully up and running. People will be eligible for a back-dated payment.

We are temporarily asking anyone who believes they may qualify for the new payment to give us their contact details using a simple form on our website. We will then call you back to ask you to provide your supporting evidence and arrange to make payment.

This form will be available from Monday, 28 September 2020 at

Advice on self-isolating

It is really important if you develop symptoms of Covid-19 that you self-isolate and get a test. Even if your symptoms are mild and you feel okay, you must self-isolate.

There are other circumstances when you may be told to self-isolate even if you don’t have symptoms.

The links below provide advice on when and how to self-isolate.

If you need help getting food or medicines while self-isolating, then the Worcestershire Here 2 Help service is available to you.

You can register for help on the Worcestershire Here 2 Help website.

If you have to self-isolate and can work from home, then please talk to your employer about this.

If you have to self-isolate and cannot work from home, you may qualify for the new £500 support payment.

If you don’t qualify for that, then you may be able to claim Statutory Sick Pay, Universal Credit or other benefits.

See financial support if you cannot work because of coronavirus for more information.

Access to testing

We know there are difficulties getting access to a test currently. This is a national issue and the Government is working on increasing capacity.

If you need a test, our advice is to please keep trying as slots do become free throughout the day. You can book a test online.

Remember, you only need to get tested if you have symptoms of Covid-19. These are:

a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)

a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Please do not get a test if you do not have symptoms of Covid-19, unless you are officially told to do so.

Boots has produced a useful chart to help you recognise the difference between symptoms of a cold, flu and Covid-19.

New Job Support Scheme announced

The Government has announced a new Job Support scheme to help protect viable jobs in businesses facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19.

The scheme will open on 1 November 2020 and run for six months.

Under the scheme, your company will continue to pay you for the time you work. The cost of hours not worked, will be split between your employer, the Government (through wage support) and you, by way of a wage reduction.

Find out more about the Job Support Scheme.

New employment support guide

Worcestershire County Council has launched a new Entry to Employment Services guide, to help those who have lost their job during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The guide showcases the support that is available across the county for those who have experienced a major career change over the last few months. There are 33 services included in the guide, and the Skills 4 Worcestershire webpage has been re-designed to try and make taking that next step as easy as possible.

Download the Entry to Employment Services guide.

Great British Week of Sport

This week is the first ever Great British Week of Sport, an initiative set up by UK active, to inspire the nation to celebrate the power that sport, and activity has on our mental, physical and social wellbeing.

We also know that losing weight and being active can help protect you against Covid-19.

Support to help you get active:

Download the Couch 2 5K or active 10 apps 

Use the activity finder to find weekly sporting activities near you

Workout from the comfort of your own home using the NHS online fitness studio

You can find all this and more on the Better Health website.

Also, check out what’s on offer from our leisure centre operator Wychavon Leisure.

New campaign to support mental health of your young loved ones

The past few months have been hard on everyone, including children and young people. But there are lots of things we can do to support them at this time.

Better Health – Every Mind Matters will help you find what’s right for your children or young loved ones – whether it’s listening to them talk about the challenges they’re facing or helping them develop skills to cope with their emotions.

Find out more on the Every Mind Matters website

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