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PM reveals his new plan for the UK post-lockdown and mutes his mic along the way

By Harriet Piercy

Nov 24, 2020

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The countdown to 2 December, when the lockdown is set to unlock, has begun—not without much unsurprising confusion, however. That being said, there were also some clean-cut facts that came out of the UK’s Prime Minister’s announcement on 23 November. Here is everything we know so far.

What are the new tier rules for after lockdown in England?

Reducing the spread of COVID-19 has remained a priority, obviously, and the tiers (read tears) are back in full swing. This really does make sense, so for those that this piece of information finds surprised, I truly wonder what 2020 has done with your logic. Not to say that my own has not been scrambled in different ways, but to be clear here, each and every one of us living in England will be classed into a tier, which comes with its own set of terms and conditions. So, what are the different tiers and what do they imply?

Blanket rules for all tiers

No negotiations, Rambo! All tiers will have a uniform set of rules in place for each region.

The ‘work from home’ advice remains the same: work from home if you can. As annoying as this still may be for most, don’t lie when you ask yourself if you’ve adjusted to the positives of this yet, alright? Keep perspective on your privilege, this will not last forever unless you want it to.

Schools, colleges and universities remain open.

Registered childcare and other supervised activities for children and childcare bubbles are allowed.

Shops and personal care services can open. Yes, you’ll soon be able to go for a well-deserved haircut or wax. Treat yourself!

Certain indoor and outdoor leisure activities, like public gyms and swimming pools, golf courses, dance studios and playgrounds will open again.

Elite sport and disabled sport can continue.

You are advised to walk or cycle where possible, plan ahead, avoid busy times when travelling. Capiche?

The popolice will gain new powers to close down premises breaking the rules. Be wise, my friends.

Rules for regions in Tier one, medium alert

Households can mix inside and outside, but only as a group of six or less.

Bars, pubs and restaurants will be table service only, last orders by 10 p.m., and you’ll be kicked out at 11 p.m.

Entertainment can reopen, until 11 p.m. Casinos, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, museums, bowling alleys, funfairs, theme parks, bingo… you get the gist. No dirty dancing with strangers is obviously still a rule regardless. There is still a 50 per cent capacity for events like live performances and shows.

Avoid travel into tier three areas. Duh.

Overnight stays are permitted with your household (one would hope this went without saying, but this was officially stated anyway), overnight stays are also permitted within your bubble as well as with up to six people from different households. Is this the return of the PJ party? C’mon, we were all thinking about it.

All public accommodations can reopen.

Places of worship can reopen but more than six people from different households cannot interact.

Weddings, civil partnerships and wakes can take place with up to 15 guests. Funerals can have up to 30 guests.

Exercise classes and organised adult sport can take place outdoors, albeit obeying the rule of six.

Social distancing always applies.

Rules for regions in Tier two, high alert

There will be no socialising in groups larger than six people indoors or outdoors.

Pubs and bars must close unless they serve food, and hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals. I’ll say that twice: substantial meals, not snacks.

Last orders at 10 p.m., closed by 11 p.m.

The numbers of journeys available will be reduced, don’t travel into a tier three area unless you absolutely have to.

Overnight stays are still permitted but only with your household (…) or support bubble.

Accommodation remains open.

Places of worship will also remain open, but there will be no interaction permitted with anyone outside of a household or support bubble.

Weddings, civil partnerships and wakes can take place with up to 15 guests. Funerals can have up to 30 guests.

Exercise classes and organised adult sport can take place outdoors, but not indoors if there is a chance you’ll interact with different households.

Rules for regions in Tier two, which is low key a lockdown

No meeting socially indoors or outdoors with anybody who is not in your support bubble, or who you don’t live with. You must not socialise in a group of more than six people.

Hospitality, even if those that serve food, will be closed. However, takeaways, click and collect, drive through services or delivery will still be permitted.

Public accommodation places will close, but there are exemptions. Those who use these accommodation services as their main residence or requiring the venues for work and education or training will be allowed to stay.

Entertainment will be closed. No cinemas, live music events, casinos, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skirting rinks or play areas. Entertainment venues that are mostly outdoor, like zoos, safari parks, aquariums, fun fairs, landmarks, visitor attraction farms, museums, galleries, sculpture parks and model villages will also be shut. Botanical gardens and greenhouses are also included and the list goes on.

Group exercise and indoor sports should not take place, unless with your household or support bubble.

What tier are you in?

Unfortunately, no one will officially know this until this Thursday 26 November, when the tiers will be allocated. New cases data that will be released this week will dictate which tier areas will go into.

What do the tiers mean for travel?

Travellers will soon be able to shorten their quarantine time to five days if they test negative on the fifth day of their quarantine, but they’ll have to pay for the test, which will cost between £65 and £120.

Conclusion

We are not out of the pits yet, and the repercussions are bound to be drawn out for a while. Keep in check with your mental health, love yourself, you’ve got this, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Think statistically and keep perspective.

Also, expect bumps in the road. This information was released live yesterday afternoon, and even with all the preparation that the UK could offer, the PM still experienced a technical glitch. Just as you were about to mute the chap, he beat you to it and muted himself. What was first awkward was down right hilarious in hindsight, probably even for the man himself. Find something to laugh about today, life doesn’t have to be any worse than it is for goodness sake. On a really positive note, vaccines are officially on the horizon!

COVID-19 vaccines

The highly anticipated COVID-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford UK, has reported some positive results as of recently. Pfizer and BioNTech reported that their vaccine was also effective, and an interim analysis of Moderna’s RNA vaccine showed it worked roughly as well. Yay, science.

Age is by far COVID-19’s biggest risk factor, so when these vaccines do become available for the general public, older care home residents and staff top the UK’s preliminary priority list, followed by health workers like hospital staff and then the over 80 year olds.

PM reveals his new plan for the UK post-lockdown and mutes his mic along the way


By Harriet Piercy

Nov 24, 2020

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COVID-19 effects on climate change

By Alma Fabiani

Apr 15, 2020

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There are many conflicting opinions on whether the coronavirus pandemic is improving or aggravating our fight against the climate crisis. At first, people were quick to celebrate the lockdowns put in place in many countries—they meant less air traffic and impressive CO2 emission cuts. But as time went by, the media started changing its headlines. Despite the economic slowdown, greenhouse gases were still being emitted and recycling schemes put on hold. So, is COVID-19 having a positive or negative impact on climate change?

Cleaner air

The widely-reported benefit of the pandemic has been cleaner air in countries such as China and some European countries. In a matter of months, transport networks and businesses have closed down, which resulted in a sudden drop in carbon emissions. A month ago, the BBC reported that “levels of pollution in New York have reduced by nearly 50 per cent compared with last year” because of the measures put into place in order to contain the virus.

Both China and Northern Italy have also recorded a decrease in nitrogen dioxide, an air pollutant that contributes to climate change. Energy use drastically dropped in China over a two week period. As many experts predicted that COVID-19 would impact CO2 levels for the whole of this year, things looked good for the planet and most people were glad to welcome this tiny bit of positive news. But as we’ve seen more recently, the pandemic has also had some serious negative consequences on climate change.

Increase in household garbage and plastic waste

While people working from home means a decrease in overall emissions, it also results in an increase in electricity use and home heating and a surge in the amount of garbage produced by each household. People stuck at home are increasingly shopping online and ordering food to be delivered to their door, both of which come with a lot of packaging.

COVID-19 effects on climate change

Shops and businesses that once preached the use of reusable bags and containers are now advising customers to switch to single-use packaging and bags despite the fact that single-use plastics can still harbour bacteria. At the beginning of March, Starbucks announced that it would temporarily ban the use of reusable cups in its coffee shops.

In other words, the plastic bag ban that was implemented in many countries is no longer being followed in order to slow down the spread of COVID-19, but also because people have ‘more important things’ on their minds right now.

Medical waste is also on the rise

As hospitals become overwhelmed with the increasing number of patients in need of care, the demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) has in turn surged. As a result, COVID-19 is generating tons and tons of medical waste.

According to Bloomberg in The Unexpected Environmental Consequences of COVID-19, during the outbreak hospitals in Wuhan, where the pandemic first broke out, produced an average of over 200 tons of medical waste per day, up from its previous average of less than 50 tons.

Recycling programmes on hold

With more plastic and medical waste being generated, countries have also decided to halt recycling programmes. In the US, some cities have done so as officials are worried about recycling centres potentially spreading the virus. In some European countries, waste disposal options have been paused indefinitely. Of course, the safety of sanitation workers should be our priority, but Italy went as far as banning any infected resident from sorting their waste at all.

So is it good or bad?

Although it is true that the coronavirus outbreak has had one positive effect on our carbon emissions, it would be shortsighted to say that it will improve our environmental impact generally. After the financial crash of 2008 and 2009, global emissions dropped for a year because of the reduced industrial activity but quickly went back up as countries turned to fossil fuel for a quick and easy fix.

Right now, most of us are struggling to breathe as the planet is finally getting a breath of fresh air. And as twisted as it sounds, the worst is yet to come, environmentally-speaking. Once we start coming out of our houses again, the world will have to wake up to another problem: a garbage and recycling crisis.

COVID-19 effects on climate change


By Alma Fabiani

Apr 15, 2020

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