In the wake of the increase in coronavirus cases, the Prime Minister addressed Parliament on 22 September to advise all workers in England to work from home, if they can.
He said: “We are once again asking office workers to work from home where possible,” but added that this is “by no means a return to the full lockdown”, which began in March.
Any workers who are unable to work from home, such as those in the construction, leisure, retail and tourism sector, are prompted to go to work, provided their workplace adheres with the COVID-secure guidelines, which will become legal obligations.
Any businesses that do not adhere to these rules could be subject to a fine or face closure. The case remains the same for vulnerable individuals. Self-isolation is essential in places where local lockdowns are in motion.
Boris Johnson’s announcement is a significant change from his return to work message in July, where he said employees should “start to go back to work now if they can,” while stating that many workplaces were “COVID-secure”.
On 22 September 2020, Professor Chris Whitty, the Government’s Scientific Adviser and Chief Medical Officer, suggested there could be 50,000 new coronavirus cases a day by mid-October. Meaning, we could see more than 200 deaths by mid-November if actions are not put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK’s Chief Scientific Adviser, added at the Downing Street press conference that these figures are not a prediction, but, “at the moment we think the epidemic is doubling roughly every seven days.
“The challenge, therefore, is to make sure the doubling time does not stay at seven days… That requires speed, it requires action, and it requires enough in order to be able to bring that down.”
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