Yesterday, Monday 23 November, the Prime Minister delivered a statement to the House of Commons releasing the plans to move England towards more uniform regional lockdowns after the second lockdown ends on 2 December. The Prime Minister announced that the regional tiering system will be reintroduced, but with ‘ougher measures in each tier.
In his statement the Prime Minister said that:
  • By spring 2021, scientific advances should reduce the need for the restrictions and make the idea of a COVID-19 lockdown redundant
  • From 2 December - people can leave their home for any purpose and meet up to six people outside; and that collective worship, weddings, and outdoor sports can resume subject to social distancing; and shops, personal care, gyms and the wider leisure sector can reopen
  • People will no longer be limited to seeing only one other person in outdoor public spaces; the rule of six will apply as it did in the previous set of tiers
  • Previous local tiers were not sufficient to reduce the R-rate to below 1, so the tiers were to be made tougher by:

    • Tier 1: people should work from home wherever possible
    • Tier 2: alcohol may only be served alongside a meal
    • Tier 3: indoor entertainment would have to close, as would hospitality, except for takeaways
On Thursday 26 November, the Government will announce which areas will be in which tiers.

By the end of 2020, every care home resident can have two visitors, who will be tested twice a week. Social care workers will be offered weekly tests from 23 November. Weekly tests will be provided for prison staff, food manufacturing staff, and those delivering COVID-19 vaccines. Testing will enable students to know if they can return home for Christmas. In England there will be a launch of a major community testing programme, offering all local authorities in Tier 3 areas a six-week surge of testing.
The Government is expanding eligibility of support bubbles. This will help mitigate the impact of the restrictions on parents of children aged under one (or under five, but with a disability that necessitates continuous care) and for those households where a single adult cares for someone with a serious disability.

Mass testing will be rolled out in the NHS from next month, and across the country from January 2021. The Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine is one of three vaccines capable of developing a period of immunity. 100 million doses of the Oxford vaccine had been ordered, and 300 million vaccines had been ordered overall.

NHS capacity

To ensure the NHS is able to meet the present and forthcoming demands it will be necessary to reallocate staff temporarily to areas of high demand, increase productive clinical time and minimise absences (for example, through staff influenza vaccinations and a focus on wellbeing). The NHS is continuing to recruit, making use of the returning NHS staff who volunteered their services in the spring.

The Government is increasing eligibility for free influenza vaccinations to all 50 to 64-year-olds; these will be available from 1 December. 


The Government has established walk-through sites and deployed mobile units so that almost all universities are within 1.5 miles of a testing centre, allowing staff and students to get access to tests should they develop symptoms.
The Government has worked with the devolved administrations to ensure that all students are treated fairly and can travel home as safely as possible. From 3 - 9 December, known as the ‘student travel window’, students will be allowed to travel home on staggered departure dates set by universities. 
Once at home, in terms of the social contact rules, they and the family members they live with will be treated as being part of the same household. 
Following the end of term break, the Government is looking to make the return to higher education as safe as possible, and will provide further guidance in due course.
The College of Podiatry will be monitoring government statements around COVID-19 and will release regular summaries.

The College of Podiatry 
24 November 2020