This is the latest rolling weekly update covering the legislation and guidance on coronavirus COVID-19 during the week commencing 27 December 2020*. Although the updates for 30 December are not directly associated with “law and religion”, they will nevertheless have an impact on this and many other areas.
Sunday 27 December to Saturday 2 January 2021
Law and Religion UK‡
- Law and religion round-up – 27 December with a link to the 1256 pages of COM(2020) 857 final, a.k.a. “ANNEX to the Recommendation for a Council Decision approving the conclusion, by the European Commission, of the Agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland...”
Church of England
The Government has announced a formal tiering review, whereby more areas have been elevated to tiers 4 and 3. The guidance for places of worship within tiers has not changed at this time, and public worship may continue in all tiers, in line with the Government guidance and the advice below.
We are also conscious of those who will not wish to attend a church building in light of increased numbers of cases, and many churches will continue to offer local streamed worship, together with national online weekly worship and daily audio prayer services via the Time to Pray app and podcast, and the Daily Hope telephone line for any who are unable to access the internet.
See church online for more details.
“All areas of the Diocese are now in Tier 4, and infection rates have continued to rise rapidly…Whilst it remains permissible for churches to continue to be open for their usual worship provision, we are encouraging parishes/benefices in the Diocese of Oxford to take a very cautious approach in the weeks ahead.” The update describes measures that can be taken.
Other churches and faith organizations
Guidance/ Press Release/Correspondence
- Letter to the profession from the UK Chief Medical Officers regarding the UK COVID-19 vaccination programmes. DHSC. The letter lays out the scientific and public health rationale for the dosing schedule for the AZ vaccine and the change to the dosing schedule for the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. (31 December 2020).
- Tier 4: Stay at Home. DHSC. What you can and cannot do in areas with a very rapidly rising level of infections, where tighter restrictions are in place. Updated to clarify ‘Work and volunteering’; under ‘Travelling to a Tier 4 area from a Tier 1, 2 or 3 area’, added a legally permitted reason to travel: ‘to provide emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm (such as domestic abuse)’ and ‘Where necessary, you can travel through a tier 3 and tier 4 areas as a part of a longer journey’. (30 December 2020).
- Priority groups for coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination: advice from the JCVI, 30 December 2020. DHSC. Includes JCVI advice on priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination and the Independent Report, Annex A: COVID-19 vaccine and health inequalities: considerations for prioritization and implementation. (30 December 2020).
- MHRA guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19). MHRA. Guidance and information for industry, healthcare professionals and patients covering the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Added ‘Oxford University/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine approved’ to vaccines and vaccine safety. (30 December 2020).
- Statement from the UK Chief Medical Officers on the prioritization of first doses of COVID-19 vaccines. DHSC. Press Release. Joint clinical advice from the 4 UK Chief Medical Officers on the prioritization of first doses of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines. “… the AstraZeneca (Oxford) vaccine should be administered in 2 doses, with the second dose given between 4 and 12 weeks after the first…for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, the interval between doses must be at least 3 weeks. For both vaccines … while efficacy is optimized when a second dose is administered, both offer considerable protection after a single dose, at least in the short term… the second dose completes the course and is likely to be important for longer term protection.” (30 December 2020).
- Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine authorized by UK medicines regulator. DHSC. Press Release. “… the JCVI has advised the priority should be to give as many people in at-risk groups their first dose, rather than providing the required two doses in as short a time as possible. Everyone will still receive their second dose and this will be within 12 weeks of their first. The second dose completes the course and is important for longer term protection.” (30 December 2020).
- Decision: Regulatory approval of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca. MHRA. Information about the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, approved by the MHRA on 30 December 2020. Documents for healthcare professionals on use and prescription, and information for UK recipients/patients on using the medicine safely. (30 December 2020).
- Second COVID-19 vaccine authorized by medicines regulator. DHSC. (30 December 2020).
- Coronavirus (COVID-19), Standing Guidance: Guidance for E, W, S, NI, RoI. The guidance for ringing for children’s groups has been updated in the light of the introduction of the new Tier 4. In England, the Government guidance that allows the running of activities for children in out-of-school settings specifically excludes Tier 4, so young ringers groups can only operate in Tiers 1-3. Updated 27 December 2020.
Covid-19 resources for churches. Last updated: Wednesday 23 December 2020.
Post last update, Friday 8 January 2021 at 19:05.
These updates are published at the start of each week; they are not reissued, but new items are added throughout the week as they become available, providing a “rolling update” of the latest developments during the current week. They are also added to COVID-19 Coronavirus: legislation and guidance which is the main source of information; those items in the weekly updates yet to be added are marked “§“. The updates for the earlier weeks are here.
For Church of England documents, the information on the document itself – date and version number – provides the best indication of the date on which it was issued