On 26 March 2020, the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 came into force, detailing Regulations on social distancing and business and venues closures. These Regulations set out that a review of these Regulations must take place every 21 days to ensure they are both necessary and proportionate. The Government completed the first review as required on 16 April 2020.
In this review it was agreed that no change would be made to the existing restrictions and that they would remain in place for at least three more weeks. Recognising the potential for harm to public health and the economy if measures were relaxed too soon, it was agreed that five conditions would need to be met before the measures are eased. These conditions are: 1) Evidence that NHS critical care capacity across the UK will not be breached; 2) there is a sustained and consistent fall in the daily death rate; 3) infection rates decrease to an acceptable level; 4) supplies of PPE and testing meets future demand; and 5) clear evidence that changes won’t risk a second peak in the virus.
However, a small number of minor amendments are required to clarify the Regulations and ease the operation of the Regulations. They relate to enforcement of the measures, and businesses and venues affected.
Publicly available Government guidance on Gov.uk is being updated to ensure it fully corresponds with the amended Regulations. These are strict measures, but they are measures that we must take in order to protect our NHS and to save lives.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords