On Thursday, September 17, the UK government announced the further tightening of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) controls for the north-east of England effective from midnight on Thursday. The measures affect seven council areas, namely Northumberland, Newcastle, Sunderland, North and South Tyneside, Gateshead, and County Durham.
Residents in these areas will not be able to mix with people outside of their households and support bubbles. Restaurants will only be permitted to offer table services. Additionally, restaurants, bars and pubs will be required to shut between 22:00 and 05:00 (local time).
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced the temporary restrictions and stated that Sunderland currently had an infection rate of 103 cases per 100,000 people, whilst in South Tyneside, Gateshead, and Newcastle the figures are all above 70.
Many restrictions have been lifted in the UK, and the government is now focusing on using contact tracing to identify areas where the virus is spreading. The wearing of face masks is mandatory in certain public areas, with fines for repeat offenders. Further information regarding the wearing of face masks in the UK can be found here.
The UK is also using infection rates in other countries to regularly make amendments to the list of countries that are exempt from a required 14-day self-isolation period on arrival in the UK. Countries from where quarantine is required vary for the four nations of the UK (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland). A full list of countries where travelers arriving in England will be exempt from quarantine measures can be found here.
As of September 17, there have been 380,680 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the UK with 41,773 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell, or a rash on the skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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