Isolation requirements for people testing positive with COVID-19 could be scrapped by the UK government, it is being reported.
This would mean that people would no longer need to isolate at home if they tested positive for the virus, in a huge break from laws that have been in place since last year.
Instead, the virus would be treated the same as other diseases – such as flu – as part of new plans from ministers, which were leaked in the Mail on Sunday over the weekend.
In documents seen by the paper, 160 pages outline government plans to end self-isolation rules in England by spring as part of so-called Operation Rampdown.
This ‘move to normality’ would also mean the end of the Test and Trace system, free lateral flow tests, and the £500 weekly allowance provided to help low earners fulfill the legal 10-day isolation requirements that are currently in place.
One document said: “We will no longer be prioritising the previous objectives of breaking chains of transmission at all costs.”
In the documents, officials from Whitehall claim the virus will become endemic and that the legal requirement for those with a positive Covid test to self isolate for 10 days – which currently expires in March – will not be renewed.
Government insiders, however, have stressed that nothing will change until next year – with the current focus seeming to be on encouraging people to get their flu and booster shots.
The papers were created as part of a six-week review by the UK Health Security Agency, designed to look forward to the spring and how the situation is expected to be, come the new year.
The documents seem to suggest that government ministers are looking to take England off its Covid war footing and instead make some sort of return to ‘normality’.
It is expected that, instead of the previous national response, in the new year the fight will be taken to local authorities with councils expected to do more to protect vulnerable communities – such as those living in care homes.
Independent Sage, however, is currently calling for a Plan B to help ‘save Christmas’ and help the NHS – which it says will not otherwise be able to cope this winter.
Elsewhere, the Royal College of Nursing has called for the mandatory wearing of facemasks to be reimposed.
36,517 new cases were announced in Britain by the government on Sunday, 14 November, a fall of 30% since the last peak in October.
The government currently seems to be relying on the booster jab programme to help get people through the winter.
it is expected to announce today (Monday 15, November) that booster shots will be extended to the under-50s in a bid to increase the nation’s immunity to the virus over the winter months, according to reports in the Sunday Times.
The rules on self-isolation have already changed for people who are under the age of eighteen or double vaccinated so that these groups do not need to isolate if they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive.
The move to entirely eliminate the need for self-isolation for anyone testing positive with COVID-10 by March 2022, however, would be very drastic and a huge step away from measures that have been in place throughout the pandemic up until now.
Police arrest four men and shut down ‘incredibly dangerous’ cannabis farm in Salford
Police have shut down a suspected cannabis farm in Salford today, arresting four men.
Officers swooped on the property on Arthur Street in Swinton after finding evidence that the house was being used to grow cannabis plants.
The farm has been described as ‘incredibly dangerous’ to other occupants in the area.
Three rooms in the house were full of plants growing, with a huge amount of wiring surrounding them that posed a fire hazard.
The four men detained by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) Salford Neighbourhood Team were subsequently arrested on suspicion of involvement in the production and supply of cannabis and remain in police custody for questioning.
Sergeant Peter MacFarlane said: “Locating a cannabis farm is a great result for the team who are gathering intelligence and working hard to crackdown on drug-related crime across Salford.
“Farms of this nature are also incredibly dangerous to other occupants in the area. The building itself is still being made safe due to the amount of wiring around the plants. Criminals running these types of enterprises have no regard for public safety and in these conditions, an electrical fault from bad wiring could easily start a fire and endanger lives.
“The arrests and seizures then go someway towards disrupting the supply of illegal drugs and the criminality that comes with it, and will also make our communities safer.
“This operation was intelligence led and a huge part of our intelligence comes from members of the public sharing information with us. If you have suspicions about a crime taking place please report it so we can take positive action and bring those responsible to justice.”
You can make a report by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency. You can also report via the LiveChat function on GMP’s website: www.gmp.police.uk
Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Featured image: GMP
‘Groundbreaking’ new app to help get homeless people into work launches in Manchester
Homeless families across Manchester are set to benefit from a “groundbreaking” new service that gives them access to employment support.
With the ultimate aim of helping homeless people move out of temporary accommodation and into their own homes, Manchester City Council has announced a new pilot partnership with Beam – a social enterprise that fundraises on behalf of homeless people and connects them with a supportive online community.
Through Beam’s “innovative” app-based platform, homeless people can raise money for items that often end up being financial obstacles to them moving into a permanent home, whether than be funding equipment or training to help them secure stable and financially-viable employment, or towards a rental deposit, moving van, or other homeware essentials, and everything in between.
Donations come from people in the local community, and are shared out equally between participants, so that everyone reaches their fundraising target within an average of 17 days.
Having helped more than 1,300 homeless people “achieve their goals” since being founded in 2017, Beam isn’t just about funding, as it also has a team of caseworkers who provide one-to-one help with employment to those in need.
The caseworkers also lend a hand with searching for properties online, communicating with landlords, and booking house viewings, while Beam also works with a network of vetted landlords to help people find a home
The initiative also provides further support for at least six months after moving.
Over the next year, Manchester City Council says its pilot partnership with Beam will initially support 25 families who are living in temporary accommodation in the region, and move them into their own private rental homes.
Residents can be referred to the scheme by the Council’s housing teams, as well as other local services, and each person is assigned a caseworker from Beam, who then supports them on their journey into stable housing.
“No one chooses homelessness voluntarily,” admitted Councillor Joanna Midgley, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council.
“And when it happens, it can be devastating, which is why we are looking at a range of solutions to help people secure affordable and decent homes in Manchester.
“Our new partnership with Beam is an innovative approach to improve people’s life chances, supporting them, where possible, into sustainable jobs allowing them to move out of temporary accommodation and into their own homes.