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.
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
5 January 2021 vaccine & other updates
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)
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.
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 gov.uk
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:
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.
Information for local authorities in England on the winter grant scheme from the Department for Work and Pensions. First published 23 November 2020.
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.
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
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.
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.
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:
- UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson statement on coronavirus (COVID-19) on 19 December 2020
- Slides presented by Sir Patrick Vallance, Chief Science Advisor, at the press conference
- Statement by Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty about new strain of Covid-19. He confirmed a new strain of Covid-19 in England has been reported to the World Health Organisation.
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.
Asymptomatic testing in schools and colleges in England from January 2021.
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 https://bit.ly/lps_coronavirus
Winter Plan for England
New information on the plan came out from 23 November 2020.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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)
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
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.”