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Support bubbles ‘will not be scrapped’ if Covid rules toughened

A person wearing a face mask walks past a sign encouraging the use of face coverings outside a cafe in central London, ahead of the 32 boroughs moving to Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions from midnight tonight. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday October 16, 2020. Under Tier 2 restrictions, people cannot meet with anyone they do not live with indoors unless they are part of a support bubble. The rule of six applies for socialising outside, and pubs, bars and restaurants have a 10pm curfew. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
A person wearing a face mask walks past a sign encouraging the use of face coverings in central London (Picture: PA)

The Government has reportedly ruled out scrapping support bubbles as part of its crackdown on lockdown compliance.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is thought to have discussed the prospect of introducing tougher controls to ensure the public abide by the restrictions, with the new highly-contagious variant raising the stakes.

Reports quoted a Government source as suggesting restrictions on exercise could be tightened amid concerns people are using exceptions to the ‘stay at home’ rules to socialise.

There had been fears support bubbles could be done away with as part of the toughened measures, which could also see limits once again placed on the number of people allowed into supermarkets, nurseries closed and face masks made compulsory.

However, according to LBC, a Number 10 source has said that getting rid of support bubbles is ‘categorically not going to happen’.

What is a support bubble?

According to the Government guidance, a support bubble is a support network which links two households.

You have to meet certain eligibility rules to form a support bubble. This means not everyone will be able to form one.

Once you’re in a support bubble, you can think of yourself as being in one ‘household’.

Two male friends are out in Tynemouth, North East UK. They are walking on a sidewalk and pushing their baby sons in strollers. They are wearing warm clothing.
Two male friends out pushing their baby sons in strollers (Picture: Getty Images)

It means you can have close contact with the other household in your bubble as if they were members of your own. This means you do not need to maintain social distancing with people in your support bubble.

However, the Government guidance urges that you should continue to follow social distancing guidance with people outside of your household or support bubble. This is critical to keeping you, your family and friends as safe as possible.

If you form a support bubble, it is best if this is with a household who live locally. This will help prevent the virus spreading from an area where more people are infected.

The majority of outbreaks examined by Public Health England last week came from care homes, where 749 incidents were recorded.

A total of 166 came from workplaces, 79 from hospitals, 33 were from educational settings such as schools and 11 were from food outlets. Some 257 incidents were recorded as being from other settings.

Some experts have said the current lockdown measures are not strict enough, in the face of the more transmissible variant which has spread rapidly in many parts of the country.

When asked today about whether the Government would soon be introducing stricter lockdown restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said they are ‘constantly keeping things under review’.

He said: ‘What matters is that people follow the rules, that’s the most important thing, and stay at home wherever possible.’

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