Coronavirus (COVID-19) Government announcements

The NHS COVID-19 app is now live and available for everyone to use

The app has a number of tools to protect you, including contact tracing, local area alerts and venue check-in. Website: Download the app for free now (opens in a new window)

It is vital for venues within hospitality, leisure, tourism, close contact services, local authority venues and places of worship to display a QR Code. Website: Businesses information and resources from NHS (opens in a new window)

What has changed – 22 September

The government has announced further national measures to address rising cases of coronavirus in England: Coronavirus (COVID-19): What has changed – 22 September (GOV.UK website, opens in a new window).

What has changed –  9 September

The government has announced new measures to suppress the virus and keep the number of infections down: Coronavirus (COVID-19): What has changed - 9 September (GOV.UK website, opens in a new window)

Latest statement from Department of Health and Social Care on testing capacity

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: 

“NHS Test and Trace is providing tests at an unprecedented scale – 200,000 a day on average over the last week – with the vast majority of people getting tested within 6 miles of their home. 

“There has been a spike in demand in recent weeks and the message is clear – only people with symptoms should be requesting a test.

“We’re doing everything possible to overcome this challenge – including by bringing in new labs that can process tens of thousands of tests a day, opening new test sites, and trialling new rapid tests that will give results on the spot. 
“As we expand capacity further, we will continue to work around the clock to make sure that everyone who needs a test can get one.”

Background information

  • daily average for 7 days ending 10/9/20 taken from official Coronavirus testing data which shows that during this time there were199,768 tests processed for pillars 1, 2 and 4
  • our laboratories are processing more than a million tests a week and we recently announced new facilities and technology to process results even faster
  • based on internal test and trace research we estimate approximately 25 per cent of people booking a test are not eligible
  • we have the biggest testing system per head of population of all the major countries in Europe
  • as part of the drive towards a target of 500,000-a-day testing UK capacity by the end of October the Government has announced the addition of new Lighthouse laboratories in Newport and Charnwood to the national lab network and work is ongoing to expand this even further in the coming months
  • booking slots are made available the evening before for morning appointments, and on the morning for afternoon appointments
  • appointments are required at regional testing sites and mobile testing units
    • walk-ins are available at some sites but those with appointments will be prioritised we are targeting testing capacity at the areas that need it most, including those where there is an outbreak, and prioritising at-risk groups
  • we have improved the system for allocating regional testing slots to ensure the distance limit does not go beyond 75 miles
    • the number of testing sites will be increased to 500 by the end of October
  • as the Health Secretary has said in the House of Commons, the vast majority of people who use our testing service get a test that is close to home, and the median average distance travelled to a test site is now just 5.8 miles
  • for home testing when there’s high demand we pause the booking portal to ensure a steady flow into laboratories
  • currently there are record numbers of tests available
    • NHS Test and Trace figures show that between mid-June and the end of August the number of people getting tested for the first time rose by 63% and we have seen demand for testing increase significantly again this week
    • however, we have also seen a rise in the number of people not eligible for testing coming forward. This is limiting the opportunity for symptomatic people to book a test
  • the public has a vital role to play to stopping the spread and keeping themselves and loved ones safe. If you have Covid-19 symptoms, get a test. If you don’t have Covid-19 symptoms do not come forward for a test

The Government has announced a number of changes to lockdown measures - updated 14 August 2020

Indoor theatres, music and performance venues will be able to reopen from tomorrow (Saturday 15 August) with socially distanced audiences. Wedding receptions in the form of a sit-down meal in a COVID-secure location for up to 30 guests will also now be permitted. Indoor play and indoor soft play, bowling alleys, skating rinks and casinos will be permitted to reopen. Beauty salons, tattoo studios, spas and barbers across England will be able to offer all close contact services:  Prime Minister announces stronger enforcement measures as easements resume (GOV.UK website, opens in a new window)

Changes to the self-isolation period - added 30 July 2020

On Thursday 30 July the country's chief media officers, have announced changes to the isolation period. If you test positive for coronavirus or have symptoms,  you must now self-isolate for at least 10 days, rather than seven. This guidance covers the whole of UK: Statement from the UK Chief Medical Officers on extension of self-isolation period: 30 July 2020  (GOV.UK website, opens in a new window)

Guidance for family visits to care homes

For more information please visit: Update on policies for visiting arrangements in care homes (GOV.UK website, opens in a new window)

Facilities, attractions, and accommodations have now reopened after easing of lockdown measures in England

For more information please visit: Staying alert and safe (social distancing) after 4 July (GOV.UK website, opens in new window)

Members of the public are encouraged to leave their name and numbers with venues for NHS Test and Trace. Fore more information please visit:

Public asked to leave a name and number with venues (GOV.UK website, opens in new window)

Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace (GOV.UK website, opens in new window)

Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) (GOV.UK website, opens in a new window)

Advice for accommodation providers and what the public can and can’t do on staycations

For more information please visit: 

COVID-19-advice-for-accommodation-providers (GOV.UK website, opens in new window)

Coronavirus outbreak FAQs what you can and cant do (GOV.UK website, opens in new window)