Chief Medical Officer Advice on extended households
In the light of the current medical and scientific knowledge I have advised on the careful easement of restrictions in a sequential and proportionate manner. My recent recommendations have reflected an appreciation that the summer months are a time when we can encourage more outdoor activity; this due to our understanding that the coronavirus survives for a limited time in sunlight particularly in warm, well-ventilated environments.
I remain conscious of the need to enable friends and families to re-connect in a cautious and stepwise manner. You recently announced a first step of allowing family visits beyond five miles when there are compassionate grounds. A next logical step would be to permit two households to form an extended household with the requirement that they keep adequate records in case contact tracing is required. This relaxation will particularly benefit those who live alone, who are isolated or who have care or child care needs. Mental health, isolation and loneliness are concerns I have repeatedly raised and I am also aware of the practical difficulties that many people will face as schools and workplaces return in a phased way over the next few weeks. For those people who are shielding, tailored communication that highlights the need to balance the risks and benefits of extended households will be necessary.
My opinion is that the proposals for extended households is an acceptable means of allowing the reconnection of families and supporting childcare needs. I recommend that this is that this is supported with clear guidance to the public on the need for record keeping and maintaining exclusivity with one other household.
Finally as the ‘stay local’ restriction is lifted, there is no room for complacency; expectations regarding appropriate behaviours when people arrive at their destination (hand washing and social distancing) should be made explicit.
Chief Medical Officer
30th June 2020