Pilot project to provide alternative housing for self-isolation

New pilots are being launched across England with the aim of encouraging people to get tested for Covid-19 and follow self-isolation rules.

The pilot projects will involve increased social assistance for vulnerable adults, “buddy” services for people in need of mental health support and translation assistance for non-English speakers.

People isolated in overcrowded houses in the test areas will also be offered alternative accommodation.

The government has allocated £ 11.9million for the pilot projects, split among local authorities in nine areas with high infection rates.

Local Authority Areas including Newham and Hackney in London, Yorkshire and the Humber, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Merseyside, Peterborough and Somerset.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We recognize how challenging self-isolation is for many people and these pilot projects will help us find the best ways to support people and empower everyone. to continue to do our part.

It comes as the government announced on Sunday that 60.6 million first and second doses of the vaccine had been administered since December 8.

The figure includes 37.9 million people who received a first dose, 72% of the UK population and 22.6 million have had both (43%).

The number of second doses administered in the UK hit a daily record high on Saturday, with 556,951.

The government has continued to urge people to receive a second dose to stay protected against newer variants of the coronavirus.

Mr Hancock said: ‘Soon after vaccinating over 70% of adults in the UK with a first dose, we have taken an incredible new milestone with over 60 million doses delivered in total.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock Credit: Yui Mok / PA

“Our innovative vaccination program, the largest and most successful in NHS history, is another great British achievement and a testament to what can be achieved when all corners of the country come together to defeat this virus.

Some 762,361 first and second doses were given on Saturday, the highest daily combined total since March 20.

Meanwhile, a study from Public Health England (PHE) found that Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine is 88% effective against the Indian variant of the coronavirus after two doses.

The study, which took place between April 5 and May 16, found that the jab was almost as effective against the symptomatic disease of the B1617.2 strain as it was against the Kent variant, with a 93% effectiveness.

The AstraZeneca jab was 60% effective, compared to 66% against the Kent variant during the same period.

Both vaccines were 33% effective against symptomatic disease of the Indian variant three weeks after the first dose, compared to about 50% against the Kent strain.

Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said the possibility of an easing of restrictions on June 21 was “good”.

But she urged the public to be careful to avoid another lockdown, warning that the new Indian variant has become the “dominant strain” in parts of the country.

She told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show: “It looks good if people continue to heed all the safety signs so we shouldn’t stop doing what we’re doing, especially in areas where we have this. worrying variant, the B1617. .2, in the North West and around London.

Dr Jenny Harries called for caution despite positive signs Credit: Toby Melville / PA

“It’s really important that people continue to do their hands, face, space and work from home, that they have their jabs and that they also do the tests.

“We all have to be really careful and I think we don’t all want to go back to the kind of lockdown we’ve had, it doesn’t matter if you’re on Sage (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) or in the public, neither of us want go back to that kind of restriction.

From June 21 at the earliest, nightclubs will be allowed to reopen and restrictions on major events such as festivals must be lifted, along with restrictions on the number of people at weddings.

Professor Adam Finn, a member of the Government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization, said there could be an “adjustment” to the lifting of restrictions on June 21.

He told Times Radio on Sunday: “We are indeed in a race with the vaccine program against the virus.

“We know we’re letting the virus out by spreading it pretty much now, we know we’re making good progress with the immunization program, but I think we’re going to have to make some adjustment.”

Restrictions eased in Northern Ireland on Monday with indoor hospitality resumed and people allowed to meet inside private homes for the first time this year.

As part of the relaxations agreed at Thursday’s executive meeting, Stormont’s Stay Local post was also removed.

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