Changes to Lockdown Measures (Step Four)

As the four tests of easing lockdown are said to be met, the government is continuing to take steps to ease lockdown rules.

Therefore, from 19 July:

Social distancing

  • No limits on how many people can meet
  • 1m-plus guidance removed (except in some places like hospitals and passport control when entering)
  • Face coverings no longer required by law, although the government has advised people to wear them in crowded and enclosed spaces such as shops and on public transport

Events and gatherings

  • Nightclubs can reopen
  • Pubs and restaurants no longer table-service only
  • No limits on guests at weddings and funerals
  • No limits on people attending concerts, theatres or sports events
  • No restrictions on communal worship

Other changes

  • Limits on visitors to care homes will be removed.
  • From 16 August, most Covid restrictions in schools – including “bubbles” – will end.
  • From the same date, fully vaccinated adults will not need to self-isolate after contact with a positive case.

 

NHS Data Opt-Out

The data held in the GP medical records of patients is used every day to support health and care planning and research in England, helping to find better treatments and improve patient outcomes for everyone. NHS Digital has developed a new way to collect this data, called the General Practice Data for Planning and Research data collection.

This data will be shared from 1 July 2021. Data may be shared from the GP medical records about:

  • any living patient registered at a GP practice in England when the collection started – this includes children and adults
  • any patient who died after 1 July 2021, and was previously registered at a GP practice in England when the data collection started

NHS Digital will not collect patients’ names or addresses. Any other data that could directly identify patients (such as NHS Number, date of birth, full postcode) is replaced with unique codes which are produced by de-identification software before the data is shared with NHS Digital.

This process is called pseudonymisation and means that patients will not be identified directly in the data. NHS Digital will be able to use the software to convert the unique codes back to data that could directly identify patients in certain circumstances, and where there is a valid legal reason.

We will collect structured and coded data from patient medical records.

If you don’t want your identifiable patient data to be shared for purposes except for your own care, you can opt-out by registering a Type 1 Opt-out or a National Data Opt-out, or both. These opt-outs are different and they are explained in more detail below. Your individual care will not be affected if you opt-out using either option.

Type 1 Opt-out (opting out of NHS Digital collecting your data)

We will not collect data from GP practices about patients who have registered a Type 1 Opt-out with their practice.

If you do not want your data to be shared with NHS Digital, fill in and give this ‘Type 1’ form to your GP practice [PDF] – this form allows you to include details for your children and dependants as well. Please register your Type 1 Opt-out form with your GP practice by 23 June 2021.

If you register a Type 1 Opt-out after this collection has started, no more of your data will be shared with us. We will however still hold the patient data which was shared with us before you registered the Type 1 Opt-out.

National Data Opt-out (opting out of NHS Digital sharing your data)

If you do not want NHS Digital to share your identifiable patient data with anyone else for purposes beyond your own care, then you can also register a National Data Opt-out.

To do this, use the NHS Digital’s online National Data Opt-out process – this process only works for individuals aged 13 and over.

If you have children under 13, you need to fill in this form [PDF] and e-mail or post it back to NHS Digital – this form works for both you and your children.

If you have an adult dependant for whom you have legal responsibility, you must use this form [PDF] and send it back to NHS Digital on their behalf.

We will collect data from GP medical records about patients who have registered a National Data Opt-out. The National Data Opt-out applies to identifiable patient data about your health, which is called confidential patient information.

NHS Digital won’t share any confidential patient information about you – this includes GP data, or other data we hold, such as hospital data – with other organisations, unless there is an exemption to this.

There is no deadline for step 2, the National Data Opt-out (i.e. your non-GP data), but the sooner you do it, the sooner it takes effect.

If you don’t have access to a working printer, you can ask the NHS Digital Contact Centre to post you the forms you need. Their phone number is 0300 303 5678 and they are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm (excluding bank holidays), or you can e-mail enquiries@nhsdigital.nhs.uk any time.

None of the choices above will affect your medical care, or the data that is available for your care.

 

Changes to Lockdown Measures (Step Three)

As the four tests of easing lockdown are shown to be met, the government is continuing to take steps to ease lockdown rules.

Therefore, from 17 May:

  • People can meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors
  • Six people or two households can meet indoors
  • Care home residents can have up to five named visitors and greater freedoms to make low-risk visits
  • Domestic overnight stays allowed with people not in your household or bubble
  • Face coverings no longer needed by secondary school and college pupils in classrooms or communal areas, but twice weekly home testing for pupils remains
  • Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues can seat customers indoors
  • Remaining outdoor entertainment, such as outdoor theatres and cinemas can open
  • Indoor entertainment such as museums, theatres, cinemas and children’s play areas can open
  • Adult indoor group sports and exercise classes can restart
  • Performances and large events can restart, but with limits on audience numbers
  • Hotels, hostels and B&Bs can reopen
  • People will be able to travel abroad to green list countries without having to quarantine when they return
  • Weddings, wedding receptions, wakes, funerals and christenings will be allowed with 30 people.

Social distancing with close family and friends will be a matter of personal judgement. But people are asked to remain cautious around close contact, like hugging.

Social distancing will remain in place in social care, medical, retail, hospitality and business settings. People will still need to wear face coverings on transport and in shops, unless they are exempt.


Before proceeding to the final step, the government will examine the data to assess the impact of previous changes.

The four conditions that must be met at each phase of lockdown easing are:

  1. The coronavirus vaccine programme continues to go to plan
  2. Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently reducing the number of people dying with the virus or needing hospital treatment
  3. Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospital admissions
  4. New variants of the virus do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions

Changes to Lockdown Measures (Step Two)

As the four tests of easing lockdown continue to be met, the government is continuing to take steps to ease lockdown rules.

Therefore, from 12 April:

  • No indoor mixing of different households will be allowed.
  • Non-essential shops, hairdressers, gyms, nail salons, libraries, and outdoor attractions such as theme parks and zoos will be allowed to reopen.
  • Outdoor hospitality can reopen, including pubs and restaurants – with the rule of six or a larger group from two households.
  • Customers will not have to buy a substantial meal to have an alcoholic drink and there will be no curfew but people will have to be seated when ordering and eating or drinking.
  • Two specified people can visit care home residents.
  • Children can attend indoor children’s activities, including sport.
  • Parent and child groups of up to 15 people (not counting children aged under five) can restart indoors.
  • Self-catering holidays in the UK with your own household will be allowed.

Before proceeding to the next step, the government will examine the data to assess the impact of previous changes.

The four conditions that must be met at each phase of lockdown easing are:

  1. The coronavirus vaccine programme continues to go to plan
  2. Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently reducing the number of people dying with the virus or needing hospital treatment
  3. Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospital admissions
  4. New variants of the virus do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions