What are the new UK Covid-19 rule changes—October update

What are the new UK Covid-19 rule changes—October update

As the vaccination programme continues to work its magic, the four UK nations are continuing to slowly ease restrictions. Here we will tell you everything you need to know about the new updates and how they affect you as an international student.

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England

Since England eased most of the restrictions on the 19th of July not much has changed. Here is an overview:

  • Facemasks are no longer mandatory by law although the government recommends that they are worn in crowded and enclosed spaces, especially on public transport.
  • The two metre distancing rule no longer exists.
  • Nightclubs and big events have reopened but it is likely that you will need a Covid-19 pass that shows you’re fully vaccinated in order to enter.
  • No restrictions on the number of people who can meet or how many households can mix.
  • It is no longer mandatory to work from home.
  • No limits on the number of people that can attend events such as weddings and funerals as well as communal worship.

Teaching

In regards to higher education, face-to-face teaching can commence again with no requirements to wear facemasks or to abide by social distancing. It is likely that universities will opt for a blended learning approach as international students gradually return to the UK.

Moreover, it is now up to the universities and other higher education providers to conduct risk assessments and act accordingly by them. They must maintain the risk at the lowest possible level and they should have contingency plans in case of any outbreaks.

Scotland

Scotland has moved past level 0 which means that many restrictions have been eased. We have put together the most important points:

  • No limit to the size of social gatherings.
  • All hospitality venues have reopened including nightclubs.
  • You must present proof that you have had a double Covid-19 vaccination to enter:
    • Nightclubs
    • Unseated outdoor live events with over 4,000 people
    • Unseated indoor live events with over 500 people
    • Any event with over 10,000 people
  • 2 metre physical distancing only applies in healthcare settings such as a hospital, GP surgery or dental surgery.
  • There is no need to self-isolate if you are a close contact of someone with Covid-19 as long as you have been fully vaccinated and show no symptoms.
  • Large scale events such as concerts are back. However, if the event is over 5,000 people (outdoors) or 2,000 (indoors) organisers will have to apply for permission.
  • Track and trace will continue for hospitality venues.
  • Everyone should keep working from home where possible.
  • Facemasks are still mandatory in the same settings as before such as shops, hospitality venues, nightclubs and public transport. You will not need to wear a facemask when you are having food, drinking or dancing. And drinking at the bar is now allowed in pubs too.

Teaching

You can expect to go back to university with a blended learning approach. If you are in the country, you might have some face to face classes but that will be up to your university. Social distancing and facemasks will still be used on Campus.

Wales

Wales is now at alert level 0 which means that more restrictions have been eased. Here are some of the most important points:

  • No limit to the size of social gatherings.
  • All businesses and premises have reopened including nightclubs.
  • You must present proof of full Covid-19 vaccination or a negative PCR to enter nightclubs.
  • There is no social distancing rule anymore but individual establishments must do a risk assessment and determine whether they will implement one.
  • If you test positive for Covid-19 then you must self-isolate for 10 days.
  • You must self-isolate for 10 days if you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive only if you are not fully vaccinated.
  • The test trace and protect system is still in place.
  • Facemasks are still mandatory in most indoor places except for hospitality venues. Nevertheless, some premises may still require face coverings depending on their risk assessment.

Teaching

Social distancing and facemasks will still be used on campus. Welsh universities will continue to provide blended learning to make learning accessible to those who cannot attend campus.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland has also eased some of its restrictions. We have put together some of the most important points:

  • No social distancing rule anymore in most places. Restaurants café’s and pubs still have to observe at least 1m social distancing.
  • There is no need to self-isolate when you are a close contact of someone with Covid-19 as long as you have been fully vaccinated and show no symptoms.
  • Nightclubs are still closed but you can now dance in weddings.
  • Concerts can happen indoors with restrictions on numbers and no dancing allowed.
  • Up to 15 people from four households can meet indoors at a private home.
  • Everyone should keep working from home where possible.
  • Facemasks are still mandatory in the same settings as before such as shops, hospitality venues, nightclubs and public transport.

Teaching

Universities are expected to take risk assessments to make sure their students and staff are safe. The guidance is that universities should only seek to hold indoor events when it is unavoidable to do so. It is probable that you will return to class with a blended learning approach.

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