Further information can be found at Coronavirus (COVID-19).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who does it affect?

  • Residents and businesses within the district
  • Chichester District Council staff and councillors
  • Parish councils
  • Community groups and charitable organisations

In this briefing

  •  Latest update

Local news

  • Service status
  • Vaccination programme in the Chichester District
  • Apply for business grants
  • Support for the vulnerable
  • Local Census support
  • Food Waste Action Week
  • Great Sussex Way business offer
  • Workplace health programme
  • Stay up-to-date

National news

  • Phase two of the coronavirus vaccination programme
  • Coronavirus testing update
  • Budget 2021
  • Data shows vaccines reduce severe coronavirus in older adults
  • Guidance on workforce movement between care homes and other care settings
  • Findings from Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI coronavirus study
  • R number and growth rate
  • UK transition webinars for businesses
  • Psychological First Aid training

Latest update

In a briefing earlier this week, the Health Secretary provided an update on coronavirus and the vaccination programme .

Last week, he explained how phase two of the coronavirus vaccination programme will work. In his statement, he set out that the most effective way to minimise hospitalisations and deaths is to continue to prioritise people for vaccinations by age. This follows the publication of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation's (JCVI) interim advice on the groups that should be prioritised in phase two of the programme. You can find out more about this in the 'national news' section below.

We continue to keep in regular contact with our NHS colleagues for local vaccination rollout updates and you can find all of these updates here: Coronavirus support for residents.

The first step in the Government's four-stage plan to take England out of lockdown is due to start next week, with the return to face-to-face teaching in schools and colleges from Monday 8 March. From this date the following will also apply:

  • Outdoor after school sports allowed
  • Care home residents allowed one regular visitor indoors and able to hold hands.
  • Two people will be allowed to sit together outdoors.

Any further easing will depend on whether conditions relating to the vaccine rollout, hospitalisations, infection rates and new variants are all being met. The easing of restrictions also depends on everyone following the rules for each step. Full details of the plans can be found at COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021 .

In the meantime, we must all continue to follow the rules of the national lockdown. The Government has launched a new campaign encouraging people to keep going and stay at home, and reminding people that everything they're doing is helping stop the spread of the virus.

Finally, the Chancellor of the Exchequer delivered his Budget to Parliament yesterday, confirming extensions to the furlough scheme and support for the self-employed until the end of September, as well as business grants, loans and VAT cuts. More information on this can be found in the 'national news' section below.

Local News

Service status

The majority of our services are currently operating as usual. Our leisure centres, which are run in partnership with Everyone Active, are currently closed during the national lockdown, however the current indication from the Government is that leisure centres will be able to reopen for some activities from 12 April. This is just an indication at this stage and is subject to certain Government tests being met, but we will keep everyone updated on this. For more information, visit: Westgate Leisure Centre .

Our Novium Museum and Tourist Information Centre are also closed during the current restrictions, however people can enjoy a virtual visit of the museum at The Novium Museum - virtual museum .

An update on all of our services can be found at Service status.

Vaccination programme in the Chichester District

The vaccination programme across West Sussex continues to go from strength to strength. We are sharing updates from the NHS as we receive them, and these can all be found on our website at Coronavirus support for residents.

NHS FAQs and contact information can be found on the  Sussex Health and Care website .

Apply for business grants

If your business has been affected by coronavirus, funding is still available. You can see all the available grants here: Coronavirus support for businesses.

The Government has confirmed that the Local Restrictions Support Grant has been extended until the end of March 2021 for businesses that are yet to apply. If you are a business in the district that has been required to close during the current national lockdown, please view the eligibility criteria and apply now. There is also a grant scheme available for businesses that have not been required to close but that are still affected by the current national lockdown. Find out if you are eligible for funding and apply here: Coronavirus support for businesses.

Following the Government's Budget announcement this week, we are waiting for further details around the announcement of additional funding for businesses. As soon as we have more details, we will update businesses through our email newsletter, social media channels and at Coronavirus support for businesses.

Support for the vulnerable

We are continuing to work in partnership with West Sussex County Council to support those who are most at risk. You can contact the Community Hub if you, or someone you know, need help in these difficult times. If you have support in place, please continue to use it. You can contact the Community Hub on 033 022 27980 or online .

Local Census support

Census 2021 is taking place on 21 March. This week, residents will start to receive letters from the Office for National Statistics inviting them to take part and giving them details on how to do this. A census contact centre has gone live this week, offering support to people who need assistance in completing their census form. The contact centre is UK-based and free to call, and the number is: 0800 141 2021. There is also an online help hub - online help hub - as well as a language helpline: 0800 587 2021.

In addition, West Sussex Libraries are part of the national Census Support Service and library staff are able to complete the census form online for residents over the phone. You can book an appointment by phone on 0330 222 3455, Monday to Friday between 10.00am - 4.00pm. Find out more about this service on West Sussex County Council's website .

Food Waste Action Week

This week is Food Waste Action Week. Organised by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), the campaign has been raising awareness of the impact that food waste can have on climate change. Each day, we have been sharing practical tips on simple ways to reduce food waste in your own home. Take a look at our social media channels (links below) for more information and advice, or visit: Love Food Hate Waste - Food Waste Action Week .

Great Sussex Way business membership offer

The Great Sussex Way (formerly Visit Chichester) is offering all businesses free Community Membership if they sign up before 31 March, as part of its work to build a stronger tourism economy in our area. To take advantage of this offer, businesses can visit Great Sussex Way , click on the 'Businesses' button and then select the free Community Membership option.

How happy and healthy are your staff?

A proactive approach to health and wellbeing within the workplace is key to a happier and healthier workforce and makes good business sense. Chichester Wellbeing offers a free service to employers looking to encourage staff to make healthier lifestyle choices and improve work-life balance. Investment in staff health and wellbeing does not have to involve high costs; simple measures can make a big difference. Some of the benefits experienced by businesses we have worked with include: reduced sickness and quicker return to work after illness; healthier stress levels; improved staff retention; increased productivity and motivation; and, enhanced employer reputation. To book a free Workplace Wellbeing Check or to find out more please contact workplacehealth@chichester.gov.uk or call 01243 521041.

Stay up to date

Keep up to date on all the latest council news by visiting our Latest News page. Here, you can find:

  • any new media releases
  • our Leader's weekly District Dispatch column, and
  • previous issues of our newsletter that you may have missed.

National news

Phase two of the coronavirus vaccination programme

The Health Secretary has announced that the most effective way to minimise hospitalisations and deaths is to continue to prioritise people for vaccinations by age.

This follows the publication of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s (JCVI) interim advice on the groups that should be prioritised in phase two of the coronavirus vaccination programme. The JCVI reports that an age-based approach remains the most effective way of reducing death and hospitalisation from coronavirus.

After groups one to nine in phase one, people aged 40 to 49 years are at highest risk of hospitalisation, with the risk reducing the younger you are. Once all at-risk groups in phase one have been offered at least one dose of the vaccine, prioritisation will continue in the following order:

  • all those aged 40 to 49 years
  • all those aged 30 to 39 years
  • all those aged 18 to 29 years

Coronavirus testing update

The Department for Education (DfE) is expanding the provision of home testing kits to staff in all private, voluntary and independent nurseries. Childminders continue to have access to community testing facilities for asymptomatic testing. Home testing will also be available for independent training providers and adult community learning providers by the end of March.

The Government has also announced that households with primary school, secondary school and college age children, including childcare and support bubbles, will be able to test themselves for coronavirus twice a week at home. The test kits can be accessed via employers if they offer testing to employees, at a local test site, by collecting a home test kit from a test site, or by ordering a home test kit online. For more information on who can be tested and how people can get the test can be found on the  Government website .

Separately, the Business Secretary has contacted all businesses registered in England about free coronavirus tests for staff who cannot work from home. In the letter , he encourages businesses to test their staff for coronavirus by registering for free testing kits provided by the Government.

Budget 2021

This week, the Chancellor of the Exchequer delivered his Budget to Parliament. This confirmed support for businesses through business rates reliefs, VAT reductions for tourism and hospitality, a VAT deferral scheme, a new loan guarantee scheme supporting businesses' access to loans and overdrafts, Restart Grants and an additional £425 million of discretionary business grant funding. The announcement with more information can be found on the  Government website and HM Treasury has published a factsheet  which includes further measures announced by the Chancellor.

New data shows that vaccines reduce severe coronavirus in older adults

Public Health England have submitted a pre-print report that shows that both the Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines are highly effective in reducing coronavirus infections among people aged 70 years and over. A pre-print is a research report that has not yet been certified by peer review.

In the over 80s, the data suggest that a single dose of either vaccine is more than 80% effective at preventing hospitalisation, around three to four weeks after the jab. There is also evidence which suggests the Pfizer vaccine leads to an 83% reduction in deaths. The new analysis adds to growing evidence that the vaccines are highly effective in protecting people against severe illness, hospitalisation and death.

Restricting workforce movement between care homes and other care settings

The Government has published guidance for care home providers on limiting staff movement between settings in all but exceptional circumstances to help reduce the spread of infection. The guidance also sets out how to manage the risks of deploying individuals who, due to exceptional circumstances, work in multiple settings.

Latest findings from Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI coronavirus study

Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI have published results from the latest significant study into coronavirus infections in England . Findings from the study show 13.9% of the population in England had antibodies against coronavirus. They also show that 17,000 participants had received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, with 91% of people across all ages testing positive for antibodies after 2 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. The findings show high confidence levels in the vaccine with over 90% of those surveyed reporting that they would be willing to accept, or had already had, a vaccination for coronavirus.

The R number and growth rate in the UK

The Government has published the latest reproduction number (R) and growth rate of coronavirus in the UK . The R number is currently between 0.6 and 0.9, meaning that, on average, every ten people infected will infect between six and nine other people.

UK transition webinars for businesses

On 8 March, the UK Government and Region Hauts-de-France will host at joint webinar at 8:00am (UK time) for businesses on the Short Straits Channel Crossing. This will focus on what companies can do to keep their operations smooth in light of new controls. For more information and to sign up, visit: Region Hauts-de-France newsletter .

Further live webinars are taking place this week and next include:

Psychological First Aid training

Public Health England has launched a new online Psychological First Aid (PFA) training course on how to provide practical and emotional support to children and young people affected by coronavirus, or other emergencies or crisis situations.

The course will help those completing the training to better identify children that are in distress and provide support to help them feel safe, connected and able to take steps to help themselves. The course is free and available for all frontline workers such as teachers, health and social workers, charity and community volunteers and anyone who cares for or is regularly in contact with children and young people aged up to 25, including parents and caregivers.

Share this with a friend

As the situation around coronavirus changes, it's important that people across our district have the most up-to-date information possible. Please encourage your friends and family to sign up to this newsletter so that we can all be prepared and play our part in the fight against the virus.