Long Covid: The pandemic restrictions that just won’t go away

An analysis by The Telegraph found that 15 trusts, including United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust and James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, are only allowing visits in exceptional circumstances, such as for patients at the end of life.

This week, the UK Health Security Agency revised its infection prevention and control guidance for hospitals. Emergency departments, ambulances, as well as primary care, inpatient and outpatient settings are all advised to remove social distancing measures, which have added to recent pressures. 

The isolation period for Covid-positive patients in hospitals can also be reduced from 10 to seven days if the patient produces two negative lateral flow tests. Patients who are considered contacts of positive cases are no longer required to isolate if they are asymptomatic.

Tips

Households are still having to book a slot before visiting rubbish tips – a system that has led to an increase in fly-tipping. 

The booking system was implemented widely when the country first went into lockdown, as councils claimed it was necessary to maintain social distancing. However, many have continued with the practice, even though all coronavirus restrictions have officially ended.

The Government has told councils that households should be able to access tips “at all reasonable times”, but many are ignoring its guidelines. This includes Kent council, which has already declared that it will make the changes permanent. The council cited “environmental, operational and communication benefits”. Visitors are required to book a slot using an online booking form up to a month in advance.

Medway Council is turning away visitors who do not have a slot and requires them to provide

their name, address, email address, vehicle make, model, colour and registration when making an appointment.

Households in Merton, south London, are being asked to bring a driving licence or recent council tax statement when visiting. The council only allows one person to leave their vehicle, to reduce the number of people on site. Staff are being instructed to maintain a two-metre distance from customers at all times and no longer assist with unloading items.

Passport delays

Holidaymakers have had to cancel trips away because of delays in processing passport applications. 

The Passport Office and its courier, TNT, is blaming a surge in demand after the lifting of coronavirus restrictions. Figures obtained by The Telegraph have shown that the number of passports that have gone missing in the post has doubled in less than a year, with some left waiting months for their documents. 

The Post Office is now advising that people allow up to 10 weeks for applications to be processed, up from three weeks before the pandemic. It claims that more than five million people delayed applying for a British passport throughout 2020 and 2021.

Travel

Holidaymakers are still having to wear masks at airports and on flights, even though the legal requirement no longer applies. 

Major airlines, including British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, easyJet, Norwegian, Jet2 and Tui have relaxed the rules. However, they still require passengers to wear masks if the destination country mandates that people wear face coverings indoors. This means a passenger flying to the USA, where there is still a federal mask mandate on aircraft, will have to cover their nose and mouth for the duration of the flight.

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