The 2.2 million people on the clinically vulnerable shielding list in England are to be given specific advice based on the alert level they fall into under the new tier restrictions system.
The shielding group – which is defined by medics as those who are clinically extremely vulnerable, based on age, ethnicity, gender, and individual clinical needs are to be told they no longer need to stay in their homes to keep safe.
This is predicted to range from “meet others outside where possible” for Tier 1 areas, to “ask people in your household, support bubble or volunteers to collect food and medicines” for those whose homes are in Tier 3.
This advice was announced this afternoon by Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Jenny Harries.
However, it is believed that officials are making plans for even tighter shielding restrictions within the Tier 3 areas which have the most worrying levels of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission, and there are warnings that vulnerable residents in those potential future “prescribed areas” may in fact told to shield by staying indoors as they did during the national lockdown.
Dr Jenny Harries stressed the letters being sent out would contain guidance and not compulsory instructions.
The new advice – which is said to be based on mitigating factors including the ‘rule of six’ and mask-wearing – encourages people to continue to work and take outdoor exercise, and the letters will provide what is being described as “soft” advice in addition to the national restrictions.
For clinically vulnerable residents under Tier 1 restrictions, the advice includes: “Strictly observe social distancing, meet others outside where possible, limit unnecessary journeys on public transport and work from home where possible, but you can still go to work and children should still attend school.
“This is on top of restrictions for everyone to only meet in groups of up to six people.”
For Tier 2 areas – which includes Greater Manchester and widespread areas of the North West – which are under the ‘high’ alert level, the advice states: “Reduce the number of different people met outside, avoid travel except for essential journeys, work from home where possible and reduce the number of shopping trips made or go at quieter times of the day.
“You can still go to work if you cannot work from home because all workplaces should be COVID secure, and children should still attend school.”
When it comes to residents under Tier 3, which is at present solely the Liverpool City Region, the advice will be: “Work from home, in general stay at home as much as possible, and avoid all but essential travel. You should also significantly reduce shopping trips, and if possible use online delivery or ask people in your household, support bubble or volunteers to collect food and medicines.
“People in these areas are encouraged to still go outside for exercise, and can still go to school and to work if they cannot work from home.”
Dr Jenny Harries said: “The new system will provide clarity on how best those in this group can keep themselves as safe as possible depending on the rates of transmission in their local area.
“We will continue to monitor the evidence closely,
“[And] fine tune this approach to make sure everyone in this group is clear about the safest way to go about their daily lives, particularly over the coming winter months,”
You can find more information about who was previously classed as clinically vulnerable here.
For the latest information, guidance and support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the UK, please do refer to official sources at gov.uk/coronavirus.
Sir David Jason set for TV return in Only Fools and Horses documentary Christmas special
In a surprise bit of festive news, the only and only Sir David Jason is returning for an Only Fools and Horses Christmas special this December. Lovely jubbly!
The best-loved and most-watched British comedy of all time will be back on our screens in documentary form this festive season, with Del Boy himself David Jason revisiting the iconic comedy character after 20 years he last played him on screen.
While the legendary sitcom was broadcast on BBC back in the day, the highly-anticipated Only Fools doc will be airing on Channel 5 right before Christmas as a special one-off programme.
Looking back on the show’s incredible run on UK screens over seven series and the several ‘Christmas Cracker’ specials, specifically, the latest Only Fools and Horses documentary will see Jason and a number of other guests appearing to chat about the legendary show.
While it’s still unclear how many of the original cast will be appearing, Jason’s on-screen wife Tessa Peake-Jones (Raquel) is confirmed to be appearing along with other special guests including newscaster Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Bendiorm‘s Sherrie Hewson.
Sadly, a full theatrical reunion just isn’t on the cards following the deaths of Roger Lloyd Pack (Trigger), Kenneth MacDonald (Mike the Landlord) and Buster Merryfield (Uncle Albert) in the 30 years since the show ended its run.
Only Fools writer John Sullivan also sadly passed away aged 64 in 2011 and fellow co-star Nicholas Lyndhurst, a.k.a. Rodney Trotter, told Metro: “We can’t. John is no longer with us. John was the driving force of the show and we have also lost quite a few cast members now.
“I don’t think I could do it without them and I certainly couldn’t do it without John. At the risk of depressing everyone, I think the last two times I’ve seen David has been at funerals.”
Simply entitled, ‘The Story Of Only Fools And Horses At Christmas’, the 90-minute special is yet to have its broadcast date fully confirmed but you best keep your eyes peeled on the TV guide — we’ll let you know as soon we do.
Jason, 81, has only just recovered from hip surgery earlier this year, so it’ll be nice to see his familiar grin back on our screens.
Right, we’re off to binge a whole series on UK Gold.
Habas restaurant in Manchester announces shock closure – with huge closing-down discount
Habas, the Middle Eastern restaurant launched by the team behind El Gato Negro, has announced its shock closure.
The subterranean restaurant will be going out with a bang though, promising one last knees-up with a big discount.
Habas will be doing 25% off its entire food and drink menu this New Year’s Eve so that fans of the eatery can raise a glass to the Manchester restaurant.
They’re also hoping that Mancs will raise a glass to new beginnings, teasing a brand new concept.
Habas is located at Brown Street in Manchester city centre and has been serving up its Middle Eastern menu since 2021.
It comes from Mills Hill Developments Limited, the company also responsible for El Gato Negro and Canto, fronted by celebrated chef Simon Shaw.
Habas has stressed that its closure ‘is not forever’ as it announces details of its New Year’s Eve closing down party.
You can ring in the new year with a selection of mezze dishes, sharing platters and small plates, feasting on chicken tagine and traditional tzatziki, all 25% off on Sunday 31 December.
Drinks, too, like the cranberry elderflower martini, blackberry ginger smash and clementine daquiri will be with 25% off.
Simon Shaw, Chef Parton at Mills Hill Developments Limited, said: “As of January 2024, we have made the decision to close the doors of Habas Bar & Restaurant, however we are thrilled to announce that our Brown Street venue has an exciting new concept on the way.
“Throughout December, Habas, will continue serving up the city’s best middle-eastern cuisine, so make sure you pop in and see us. AND on New Year’s Eve, Habas, will be hosting an unforgettable celebration with 25% off food and drinks. We want to rejoice with all of our customers, with one final hurrah!
“We would like to thank all of our guests and reassure Habas fans that this is not the end of Habas Bar & Restaurant forever, simply a farewell from Brown Street for now.
“We look forward to welcoming you to our new exciting concept in Q1 of 2024.”