Authorities in England announced the implementation of a three-tier lockdown system from Wednesday, October 14, following an increase of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the country. The three tiers, "medium", "high", and "very high", will see varying levels of restrictions, with local council authorities expected to have a certain amount of autonomy regarding restrictions. The Liverpool City Region is to be placed in the "very high" category from Wednesday, while all other areas in the north of England currently under enhanced restrictions, with the addition of Sheffield, Doncaster, Rotherham, Nottinghamshire, and East and West Cheshire, will be placed under the "high" alert level. While precise restrictions for each council are yet to be announced, areas in the "medium" tier will likely remain under current national restrictions, with social gatherings limited to six people, indoor sports banned, and wedding or funeral ceremonies limited to 15 guests. At the "high" tier, restrictions are likely to limit social gatherings further, with the mixing of different households indoors banned. In tier three, "very high", indoor and outdoor gatherings will be curtailed although permitted in public spaces, and travel in and out of the area limited to essential needs. In addition, bars and pubs will have to close unless they serve food. Weddings have already been banned in the Liverpool City Region, and indoor gyms, sports facilities, leisure centers, and gambling venues are to close from Wednesday.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has stated that a similar three-tier system would be announced in Scotland once current measures restricting the opening of bars, pubs, and restaurants expire at the end of October. Further details are to be announced nearer the time, but restrictions are expected to mirror those in England.
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 October 12, there have been 620,458 confirmed cases of COVID-19 will 42,965 associated fatalities in the UK. Further international spread of the virus is 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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