New powers and framework launched to contain coronavirus locally

New powers and framework launched to contain coronavirus locally

The Department of Health and Social Care has launched a new framework outlining how NHS Test and Trace will work in partnership with Public Health England, the NHS, local authorities and other local businesses and community partners to manage Covid-19 outbreaks locally.

The new regulations, part of the Covid-19 contain framework, give local and national government additional powers to stop local transmission of the virus, including the ability to restrict local public gatherings and events and close local businesses, premises and outdoor spaces.

Data on the number of positive cases at both an upper and lower-tier local authority level, which are already being published, are now set to be broken down even more granularly to local areas of 5,000 to 15,000 people, published weekly, to provide an even more thorough understanding of local hotspots and infection rate spikes around the country.

The government will also be publishing a weekly watchlist summary of specific areas of concern, areas receiving enhanced support from NHS Test and Trace, and areas where national interventions are being taken, as determined by Department of Health and Social Care ministers and the Chief Medical Officer at the Local Action Committee, as part of the weekly PHE Covid-19 surveillance report.

The new framework includes an outline of the options available to local authorities to respond to cases of the virus, including accelerated testing of asymptomatic people and increased public health messaging.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We’re setting out a new framework and local powers to further help local leaders across England protect their communities from coronavirus.

“They have the full support of NHS Test and Trace alongside these new powers and will receive help with specific interventions, including additional testing as needed, to prevent the transmission of the virus in their community.

“We continue to rely on the public’s support to protect against new cases, getting a test if they experience symptoms, and following the advice they receive from NHS Test and Trace.

“We all need our friends, colleagues, neighbours and family to continue to play their part.”

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