Covid self-isolation support scheme trials in Hackney

Local authorities will pilot alternative accommodation and translation help to further support those who have to self-isolate. Pic: Samuel Ryde.

Hackney is one of nine areas across England to take part in government pilot schemes to test new ways to encourage people to stick to self-isolation rules and get tested for Covid-19.

The government is backing the pilots with £12 million, which will be split between local authorities in nine areas with high infection rates.

The money will be used to provide alternative accommodation for people in overcrowded households, increase social care support and providing ‘buddying’ services for people needing mental health support.

People for whom English isn’t their first language will also receive translation assistance.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We recognise just how challenging self-isolation is for many people and these pilots will help us find the best ways to support people and making it easier for everyone to keep doing their bit.”

Further local authorities to receive funding for these pilots are Newham in London, Yorkshire and the Humber, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Merseyside, Peterborough and Somerset.

On Sunday, May 23 the Government announced that 60.6 million first and second vaccine doses had been administered since December 8.

This figure includes 37.9 million people who have received a first dose, 72% of the UK population, and 22.6 million have had both (43%).

The number of second doses administered in the UK hit a daily record on Saturday, with 556,951.

Dr Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of the UK Health Security Agency said that at the heart of the effort to send the virus into retreat is the Government’s collaboration with local authorities. 

She said: “COVID-19 is a global disease but it requires local solutions as well as national ones, and I am hugely grateful for the efforts of the local authorities that are going to be involved with these pilots.

“Our partnership with local councils has seen us reach more positive cases of the virus than ever before, many of whom were people who could otherwise have unknowingly spread the virus to their loved ones.”

From June 21 at the earliest, nightclubs will be allowed to reopen and restrictions on large events such as festivals are to be lifted, as are restrictions on the number of people at weddings.

Professor Adam Finn, a member of the Government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, said there might be an “adjustment” to the lifting of restrictions on June 21.

He told Times Radio on Sunday: “We’re effectively in a race with the vaccine programme against the virus.

“We know that we’re letting the virus out by spreading it about now, we know that we’re progressing well with the vaccine programme, but I think there’s going to need to be an adjustment of some sort.”

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