This is your daily email to keep you updated on the government’s response to coronavirus (COVID-19).
Self-isolation period reduced from 14 days to 10 days
Self-isolation is essential to reducing the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) as it breaks the chains of transmission. After reviewing the evidence, the Department for Health and Social Care is now confident that we can reduce the number of days that contacts self-isolate from 14 days to 10 days. This was set out in the UK Chief Medical Officers' statement on the self-isolation period on 11 December.
From today, the self-isolation period for close contacts of a positive case of coronavirus (COVID-19) has changed from 14 to 10 days. This change applies to all those who are currently self-isolating including those who commenced self-isolation before today. This means that if you are on the 11th, 12th or 13th day of your current self-isolation period today – you can stop isolating. Any new cases identified for self-isolation will be advised to self-isolate for 10 days.
We have updated our guidance to reflect this change.
The NHS test and trace app will be updated to reflect the change on Wednesday 17 December. Anyone who is, or has been, contacted by the NHS app to self-isolate before 17 December can reduce their isolation period by 3 days. From 17 December the NHS app will tell people to self-isolate for 10 days.
Test kits in children’s homes
DfE and Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) have published guidance for managers and staff of children’s homes to use for the coronavirus (COVID-19) test kits many homes will shortly start receiving.
To ensure that children’s homes, as a critical service, are able to access tests swiftly, as soon as any child or member of staff begins displaying symptoms, DfE and DHSC have arranged to issue all registered homes with a batch of 10 tests each to hold on site. These tests can be issued to symptomatic children or staff in exceptional circumstances, where homes are unable to access testing through the usual channels. Home managers will also be provided with access to the same national testing portal used by adult care homes and schools to order additional tests. Each home will be able to re-order one batch of 10 tests per 21 days, where supply is running low.
In order to arrange the delivery of kits, and on-board homes onto the portal, providers need to register with Salesforce – the operator of the testing portal.
Department for Health and Social Care survey
The Department for Health and Social Care is running a short survey for schools and further education institutions to share their experience of the coronavirus (COVID-19) home test kits service. This survey will take about 5 minutes to complete and your answers are completely anonymous. By responding you will help to improve the service as further testing is rolled out to ensure that the programme is meeting the needs of schools and further education institutions.
The information below has not changed since our last update
Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline – holiday hours
The Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline and the PHE Advice Service (option 1) will be available over the holidays to answer any questions you have about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education settings and children’s social care. These helplines will close on the bank holidays and have shortened opening hours on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
Phone: 0800 046 8687
24 December – 8am to 4pm
25 to 28 December – Closed
29 to 30 December – 8am to 6pm
31 December – 9am to 4pm
1 January – Closed
2 to 3 January – 10am to 6pm
Until 24 December, the helpline opening hours are:
Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm
Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm
Please listen carefully to all of the available options before selecting the most appropriate option for your nursery, school, college or university.
Please select option 1 or 2 if you require specific advice on the action to take to respond to a positive case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your setting. This option will take you through to a dedicated team of NHS Business Services Authority advisors who will work through a risk assessment with you to identify close contacts and will inform you what action is needed based on the latest public health advice.
Please select option 3 or 4 for any other questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education settings and children’s social care.
Look up your unique organisation number (UON)
If you have not received your unique organisation number (UON) for ordering new coronavirus (COVID-19) test kits you can look it up using your unique reference number (URN) or your UK provider reference number (UKPRN) or by calling the Test and Trace helpdesk on 119.
Department for Education guidance
Our guidance to support education providers, local authorities and parents during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak can be accessed using the links below: