Four things you need to know about the new COVID-19 rules

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The four things you need to know about the new COVID-19 rules

On Wednesday, the Government announced that it is introducing new rules to try and slow the spread of Omicron, a variant of concern which spreads much more quickly than other strains we have seen. Here are the four big things you need to know.

  1. Full vaccination offers the best protection we have against the virus, including Omicron. With these rule changes, the government is trying to give people more time to get the protection of booster vaccinations, or first and second vaccines for those who haven’t got theirs yet. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective and free, so I urge you to get yours. Anyone aged over 40 who had their second jab more than three months ago can book a booster now. The booster helps give you longer-term protection against getting seriously ill from COVID-19.
  2. Work from home if you can. From Monday 13 December, the Government is advising those who can to work from home.
  3. From today Friday (10 Dec), wear a face covering in most indoor public venues. The government is making this compulsory again, except for those under 11 years or with an exemption, extending it from just public transport and shops to almost all indoor spaces including theatres and cinemas. According to the latest research, masks can block up to 80% of the virus spreading into the air from infected people, and also protect wearers from breathing in up to 50% of particles.
  4. The NHS Covid Pass on the NHS App is set to become mandatory for entry into nightclubs and other places where large crowds gather from Wednesday 15 December.

Please read on for more details about where to get your vaccine or to take a test in your area. If we work together and take precautions we will be in a better place to keep each other safe over the winter and in light of this new threat.

Dr Melanie Smith, Brent Public Health Director


Cllr Butt

One year of evidence that the vaccine is safe and keeps people out of hospital

This week marks a year since the first COVID-19 vaccine was given in London. More than 50 million people in the UK have gone on to get safely vaccinated.

The evidence is now clear – being fully vaccinated is extremely effective at keeping you out of hospital.

I know that some who have chosen to wait to get vaccinated have done so because they are worried about side effects. Please be assured by the experiences of millions of people – side effects are mild and rarely last longer than a day or two.

Vaccines teach your immune system how to create antibodies that protect you from diseases, in this case COVID-19. It's much safer for your immune system to learn this through vaccination than by catching the diseases and treating them.

If you are already vaccinated but know someone who is still nervous, remind them it’s been a year or tell them about your experience of being vaccinated.

We are all looking forward to being able to mark Christmas and New Year with loved ones as we weren’t able to last year. Full vaccination protects you, your loved ones and your community.

If you have any questions ask your GP or seek out the facts which are freely available on the NHS or council websites. You can book an appointment quickly and easily. Go to www.brent.gov.uk/vaccine for your options locally.

Cllr Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council


Vaccines - first, second and booster shots available now

Everyone aged 12 and over is eligible for a free and safe COVID-19 vaccine. It is never too late to decide to take the vaccine and get your first dose.

You can have your second vaccine if your first was eight weeks ago, and you are currently eligible for your booster vaccine if your second jab was three months ago. Booster vaccines are not an optional extra, they are very important as they help keep the immunity from your first vaccines from fading over time.

>> Ways to get vaccinated in Brent include at pharmacies, at vaccine pop-ups and on the vaccine buses. Go to www.brent.gov.uk/vaccine for the full list.


test kit

Where to get a test in Brent

There are lots of ways to get tested in Brent, and the test you take depends on whether or not you have COVID-19 symptoms.

If you have symptoms, you will need a PCR test. If you do not have symptoms, you should regularly take LFT tests.

Ways to get tested include visiting a testing centre, visiting a pharmacy, or taking a test at home. One in three people who have COVID-19 do not show symptoms, so regular testing lessens the chance of spreading the virus without realising it.

New self-isolation rules mean that anyone in contact with people who have tested positive for Covid-19 will now be required to take daily tests. Only those who test positive will then be required to isolate. The new measures mean that anyone who is a close contact with a positive Covid case can take daily lateral flow tests, instead of being subjected to the ten-day self-isolation period that was previously required.

>> Go to www.brent.gov.uk/testing for all the ways you can get tested in Brent. You can also book a test through the NHS COVID-19 app, online or by calling 119.


Money 2

Money worries? Emergency financial support available

This is our second winter of the pandemic and we know financial strains are being felt everywhere.

If you test positive for COVID-19 and have to self-isolate, you might be eligible for a £500 Self-Isolation Support fund. Find out more.

Households across Brent can now also access a new £2.7million fund to help them over the coming months as we recover from the pandemic.

Brent residents, aged 18 and over can apply for support with the costs of essential items, such as food, or gas/electricity bills that are difficult to budget for. The fund is designed to help ease financial pressure on residents with low incomes and to support those most in need. To find out more and to apply please visit our website.


aeroplane

Travelling abroad?

International travel rules have recently been updated. You must now take a COVID-19 test in the two days before you travel back to England, regardless of your vaccination status, in addition to other rules.

A number of countries have also been added to the red list. Please check the Government website for up-to-date guidance and restrictions before you travel.