Christopher Whiteside MBE is Conservative County Councillor for the Egremont North and St Bees Division of Cumbria County Council. The division includes St Bees, Bigrigg, Wood End, Moor Row, part of the Mirehouse area of Whitehaven, and surrounding countryside.
He is also deputy chair (political and campaigning) of the North-West region of the voluntary wing of the Conservative party.
Chris lives and works in Copeland with his wife and family.
Self-isolation rules have been vital in helping to get the virus under control and save lives, but the continued success of our vaccine rollout means that Britain is reaching the point where these restrictions can be eased.
There is a balance to strike and no perfect solution but vaccinations have almost entirely severed the link between COVID-19 infections and hospital admissions and deaths. Infections have been rising for two months because of the Delta variant and the easing of restrictions, but this is not being followed by the sort of rises in hospital admissions and deaths which came after every previous rise in COVID-19 infection numbers. That is because of the vaccination programme. The graphs and figures below are from a screen shot of the government COVID tracker earlier today.
That is why, from 16 August, those who have received a double vaccination but are a close contact of a positive Covid-19 case will no longer be required to self-isolate unless they themselves test positive – and to ensure young people can make the most of their education, under-18s will also be exempt from self-isolation.
Step-by-step and jab-by-jab, we are replacing the temporary protections of restrictions with the long-term protection of the vaccine, restoring our freedoms as we unlock our country.
The enormous efforts made by students and teachers have allowed us to control the virus and save lives – and as we continue to ease restrictions, we will put the education and wellbeing of schoolchildren first.
That is why, as part of Step 4 of the Roadmap, it is expected from 19 July, Covid bubbles in schools will end, social distancing will no longer be required, and start and finish times will no longer need to be staggered – however schools will be allowed to continue with these measures until the end of term if they wish.
The determination of students and teachers has paid off – these measures will allow young people to get on with their lives and get the world-class education they deserve.