Public health advice - circles representing hands, face and space

The information on this post is regularly updated to support communicators. In line with feedback, key announcements are listed in date order, followed by more general sections. This page is in addition to other resources provided on this website and its related provision to help colleagues.

Information is subject to change, please check the links and refresh your browser to view the latest status.

Check what tier you are in by postcode (England)
Postcode checker for Covid prevention restrictions in Scotland
Alert levels in Wales

Covid-cases in the UK

Public Health England’s Coronavirus Resource Centre – graphics available for download

[Below is a content list with links to sections within this page.]

Announcements by date

February 2021

New ‘tougher’ measures and enforcement rules for quarantined passengers from 15 February 2021 (11/2/2021)

COVID-19 vaccination: care home and healthcare settings posters, Public Health England (updated)

Testing – key updated pages
Guidance on the types and uses of coronavirus (COVID-19) tests
Testing for coronavirus at home – information on how to use your home testing kit
Get a test for coronavirus (COVID-19) if you do not have symptoms
Community testing – community asymptomatic testing tool to “help identify and isolate individuals who have COVID-19 but do not have symptoms and may inadvertently be spreading the virus” (Cabinet Office and Department of Health and Social Care)
Testing for coronavirus before hospital procedures, Public Health England
Private providers of coronavirus testing – list is regularly updated
Explanation of lateral flow antigen testing for people without Covid symptoms and its role in the national COVID-19 testing programme


Coronavirus data informing local and national decision-making from the the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) which provides evidence-based, objective analysis to inform local (England) and national decision-making in response to COVID-19 outbreaks.

Weekly national flu and COVID-19 surveillance reports published
Coronavirus cases by local authority in England: epidemiological data

5 January 2021 vaccine & other updates

PM Boris Johnson’s update on vaccines (5/1/21)

Slides and datasets to presented by Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance at the coronavirus press conference: 5 January 2021.

Travel information updates in line with new national restrictions (updated 5/1/21)

Analysis updates from the Joint Biosecurity Centre to inform local and national decision-Making in response to Covid-19 outbreaks

4 January 2021 announcements

The UK Chief Medical Officers have made a joint statement recommending that the COVID-19 alert level across the UK moves from level 4 to level 5. COVID-19 alert level: statement from the UK Chief Medical Officers (4 January 2021)


National lockdown guidance – Cabinet Office, first published 4 January 2021

National lockdown announced by Prime Minister at 8pm on 4 January 2021, following a rapid rise in coronavirus cases. Information on this page on the detail of the restrictions.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s address to the nation: 4 January 2021

Slides and datasets to accompany the PM’s statement, 4 January 2021

Press release on the PM’s announcement on 4 January 2021

Posters for England available to download, published from 5 January 2021

Full list of restrictions by tiers. Updates to represent the latest restrictions have been made to the individual tier pages, please refresh your browser to view the latest updates on

Northern Ireland

Coronavirus information central homepage, Department for Health, Northern Ireland


Mainland Scotland moves from Level 4 to a temporary Lockdown on 5 January 2021. This includes new guidance to stay at home ‘except for essential purposes’. Islands which will remain at their current level of restrictions can be viewed at this Level 3 list. 
Scottish Government main Coronavirus page
Protect Scotland app from NHS Scotland.
Information for individuals and businesses in Scotland (updated 5 Jan 2021)


Welsh Government main Coronavirus page. This link includes the latest restriction level and details of what it means.

30 December 2020 announcements

Update on review of tier system in England – 30 December 2020. This page gives the details of the areas to move to Tier 4 to limit the spread of the virus as cases rise. The Midlands, North East, parts of the North West and parts of the South West among those escalated to Tier 4, with almost all remaining areas escalated to Tier 3.

Full list of local restrictions in England by tier – updated 30 December 2020. The changes announced by the Department of Health and Social Care will come into force on 31 December 2020. The four tiers are:

  1. Tier 1: Medium alert
  2. Tier 2: High alert
  3. Tier 3: Very High alert
  4. Tier 4: Stay at Home

Coronavirus cases by local authority in England: epidemiological data, 30 December 2020. A weekly watchlist is published from the Department of Health and Social Care which will be useful for communicators in the public sector. This gives epidemiological coronavirus (COVID-19) data for each lower-tier local authority (LTLA) in England.

Statement by UK PM Boris Johnson on coronavirus (COVID-19), 30 December 2020

Slides presented by Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam and NHS England Medical Director Professor Steve Powis to accompany coronavirus press conference, 30 December 2020

Slides and datasets to accompany coronavirus data briefingby Dr June Raine, Prof Sir Munir Pirmohamed and Prof Wei Shen Lim on 30 December 2020

Information for local authorities in England on the winter grant scheme from the Department for Work and Pensions. First published 23 November 2020.

Education-related updates

Note these measures are subject to change. Please visit the links for the latest status.

Update on the return of schools and childcare settings in January 2021. First published 17 December 2021. This includes updated information on phased return of secondary schools, and information on asymptomatic testing for coronavirus (COVID-19).

Secondary schools in England will be following a staggered return until 18 January 2021. Detailed information on reopening of secondary schools.

Certain areas will have primary schools open for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. The list of areas.

General information on actions for schools in England during the coronavirus outbreak. First published by the Department for Education on 2 July 2020.

Guidance for special schools and other special settings in England – this was first published by the Department for Education on 2 July 2020, and is updated.

Letter from Minister of State for Universities, Michelle Donelan MP to higher education providers relating to students’ return in Spring 2021.

Guidance for Further education (FE) providers on returning in January 2021. Information includes details of testing to be put into place.

Actions for FE colleges and providers during the coronavirus outbreak – first published 23 March 2020. Updates including 30 December.

Information for education and childcare settings in England on helping contain community transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) – first published by Department for Education, 27 November 2020, regular updates.

Reported coronavirus (COVID-19) cases by registered early years and childcare settings. This is updated fortnightly since the 30 October 2020.

Vaccine-related updates

The priority groups for coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination based on the advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), was published on 30 December 2020.

Statement from the UK Chief Medical Officers on the prioritisation of first doses of COVID-19 vaccines. Joint clinical advice from the four UK Chief Medical Officers on the prioritisation of first doses of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines.

More on vaccination in the section below on Vaccines and testing. The main coronavirus resource for communicators also has an archive section on these areas.

23 December 2020

Slides to accompany the coronavirus press conference

Two confirmed cases of Covid-variant SARS-CoV-2 variant, originating in South Africa, identified in the UK (press release)

Public health travel ban relating to South Africa following Covid outbreak, 23 December 2020

Guidance on jobs that qualify for travel exemption (first published May 2020, updated regularly)

Guidance on the tests to release for international travel (first published 27 Nov, updates including 23 Dec)

Guidance on covid-19 self test help, Department of Health and Social Care, published 23 December 2020

Funding to support devolved nations through Covid-19. On 23 December 2020, the UK Government announced new funding of £800 million for the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to support people, businesses and public services with the ongoing impact of Covid-19.

COVID-19: guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable (24 December 2020)

19 December 2020 announcements

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said: “Given the early evidence we have on this new variant of the virus, and the potential risk it poses, it is with a heavy heart that I must tell you we cannot continue with Christmas as planned.” (19 December 2020).

What you can and cannot do in an area in the new four tiers of local restrictions.


Local restriction tiers: what you need to know – Department of Health and Social Care, first published 23 Nov 2020, and regularly updated.

How areas in England fall into the local restriction tiers by area in England from the start of 20 December 2020.

Tier 1 – Medium alert
Tier 2 – High alert
Tier 3 – Very High alert
Tier 4 – ‘Stay At Home’ Alert Level in response to new COVID variant

Updated information on making a Christmas bubble with friends and family. 1st published by the Cabinet Office on 24 November 2020.

Christmas guidance relating to England – updated

Press conference links from 19 December 2020:

Visiting care homes in England during coronavirus. Department of Health and Social Care, first published 22 July 2020 and regularly updated. NOTE: in each of the Tier pages (linked above) there is more precise information for each tier.

Schools in England – guidance relating to Covid-19

Asymptomatic testing in schools and colleges in England from January 2021.

Further and Higher Education in England relating to Covid-19

3 December 2020 announcements

New announcements on the restrictions and regulations that will be in place in England from 3 December will be brought together on this post to help communicators. We are particularly supporting practitioners in public sector, and the information will be useful to PR and comms people in other areas too.

Previous information on official COVID information can be found on our resource for communicators and in our posts 

Winter Plan for England

New information on the plan came out from 23 November 2020.

Posters on the three tiers of restrictions to apply in England from 2 December 2020: Medium, High and Very High

Guidance for the Christmas period, first published 29 November 2020 from the Cabinet Office. This guidance applies to England. The web page is broken down into user-friendly sections.

COVID-19 Winter Plan for England, first published 23 November 2020. Cabinet Office publication on the UK Government’s plan for managing COVID-19 through the end of 2020 and into the start of 2021.

Press Release on the PM’s COVID-19 Winter Plan

Update on PM’s announcement on measures from 3 December 2020, published 23 November 2020. The statement was made at the coronavirus press conference.

Winter Restrictions for England relating to COVID-19 guidance, issued 23 November 2020. This includes large print versions and posters.

Local restrictions tiers which will be in place after 2 December 2020 in England, announced by the Department of Health and Social Care 23 November 2020. This document sets out the local restriction tier system that will be in place from Wednesday 2 December, including what you can and can not do in each tier. The current national restriction rules in England are still in place until 2 December.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s statement on the updated measures for the winter, 23 November 2020

Advice for pet owners and livestock keepers in England with animals in the Tier system.

Local government information relating to coronavirus (Local Government Association)

Schemes for England

COVID Winter Grant Scheme
Information on COVID Winter Grant Scheme funding to support vulnerable households. First published by department for Work and Pensions, 23 November 2020.

This relates to the UK Government’s announcement on 8 November 2020 a package of extra targeted financial support for those in need over the winter period. This £170 million COVID Winter Grant Scheme will be made available in early December 2020 and covers the period until the end of March 2021.

DWP will provide the grant scheme funding to county councils and unitary authorities (including metropolitan councils and London boroughs) who will administer the scheme and provide direct assistance to support families with children, other vulnerable households and individuals. The grant will be used to support those most in need across England with the cost of food, energy and water bills and other associated costs.

Information for local authorities in England on containing and managing local coronavirus outbreaks

Transport statistics
Transport use during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Department for Transport

Devolved countries & nations arrangements

Additional information – please view other sections including ‘Helping Others’ for further information and our main coronavirus guide for communicators.

Coronavirus information for Scotland
Local protection measures in Scotland

Northern Ireland regulations relating to COVID-19

Test and protect NHS Inform, Scotland

Regulations applying to Wales

Visiting other homes, what the restrictions mean and support bubble type information in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Helping others

Guidance on safe and effective volunteering during coronavirus (COVID-19) (first published 13 November, updates including 23 Dec)

England – Coronavirus: How to help safely
Support bubble arrangements for England. This was first published 9 September 2020, with important updates in December including on changing your support bubble.
Northern Ireland – giving help during the pandemic
Wales – looking out for each other safely during the coronavirus outbreak
Scotland – helping others

Home care guidance
England – advice on home care
Northern Ireland – guidance for domiciliary care
Scotland – guidance for domiciliary care
Wales – supporting social care during the pandemic

Care homes
England – coronavirus (COVID-19): admission and care of people in care homes
Northern Ireland – updated guidance for Christmas visiting in care homes
Scotland – information and guidance for care home settings
Wales – guidance for care homes and social services


Guidance for people providing unpaid care during the Covid outbreak in England (first published April, updated regularly)

Advice for unpaid carers and young carers during the pandemic, Northern Ireland (first published 10 April, regularly updated)

Unpaid carers providing personal care in Scotland (first published 27 April, regularly updated)

Guidance for unpaid carers relating to coronavirus in Wales

Health and wellbeing

UK Government published information on ‘staying mentally well 2020 to 2021’ focused on supporting wellbeing and mental health during the pandemic this winter. This was first published by Department of Health and Social Care on 23 November 2020.

Vaccines and testing

COVID-19 vaccination programme – information relating to the programme from Public Health England. First published 27 December 2020, regularly updated.

Guidance on getting tested for coronavirus (Covid-19). First published 15 April 2020, regular updates

PM Boris Johnson’s update on vaccines (5/1/21)

First people to receive The Oxford University/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine was given to the first people in England on 4 January 2021 at the start of the NHS’ vaccination programme.

Regulatory approval of Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19. First published 2 December 2020, regular updates
First vaccinations across the UK – press release 24 December 2020

Test and Trace Support Payment scheme: claiming financial support (first published 12 December, updates including 24 Dec). Includes information on who can claim and how.

Slides from presentation given by Kate Bingham on securing COVID-19 vaccines. The slides were presented to attendees of the ‘PERSPECTIVES’ event on 21 October 2020.

PHE investigating a novel strain of COVID-19
A new variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) has been identified across the South East of England. Public Health England, first published 14 December 2020

Statistics relating to COVID

Imperial College and Ipsos Mori COVID-19 study, November 2020. Findings according to the Department of Health and Social Care statement on 15 December 2020 report “infections fell by over 30% during lockdown and levelled off, with 91 per 10,000 people infected in the most recent data.”


One thought on “New COVID regulations for winter 2020/21”
  1. […] Arrangements for winter restrictions and regulations across the UK are being added to a new page of our resource for communicators.Update on PM’s announcement on measures from 3 December 2020, published 23 November 2020Local restrictions tiers which will be in place after 3 December 2020 in England, announced by the Department of Health and Social Care 23 November 2020 […]

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