COVID-19 Update - UK

09 December 2021
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COVID-19

Dear all,

With the increasing numbers of cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant across the country, the UK and Scottish Governments have made further changes to the previously communicated restrictions. We have set out below what these changes mean for ASCO.

Working from home

As soon as practicable we will re-introduce working from home for where that is possible. Should you be unable to work from home for any reason, please discuss alternative options with your line manager which may include, subject to risk assessment, providing continued access to your worksite. We will review this position in accordance with government guidance but expect the initial period to continue until mid-January 2022.

The commencement of the hybrid working model will be deferred meantime and we will review the effective date dependent on the ongoing situation and guidance. Please continue to make arrangements to prepare for when we do commence hybrid working.

Operational personnel

When on site, it is essential that all operational personnel adhere to all hygiene and distancing measures in place and we urge you all to remain cautious. Please be aware that not wearing a face mask around any indoor ASCO facility is a breach of our risk controls. Managers are requested to review business continuity plans and to consider re-implementation of team / squad segregation measures.

External visitors

External visitors to ASCO sites are to be restricted and are subject to senior site management approval.

Self-isolation

Across the UK, anyone who lives with - or is identified by NHS contact tracers as being a contact of - a suspected or confirmed Omicron case must self-isolate for 10 days. This applies whatever a person's age or vaccination status.

Suspected or confirmed Omicron cases are identified through PCR tests. Although confirming that someone has Omicron can take a couple of weeks, the initial test result will indicate if you are suspected of having it.

The rules around self-isolation after foreign travel have also changed: all over-5s who arrive in the UK (over-11s in Scotland) must self-isolate while they wait for the results of a pre-booked PCR test, again irrespective of their vaccination status.

Festive gatherings

Regrettably after careful consideration, all Company sponsored festive gatherings are to be cancelled. We understand this will come as a disappointment but your safety is our main priority. Hopefully, these events can be re-scheduled in the New Year.

Testing

We strongly encourage you to take two lateral flow tests each week if you are coming into the workplace, whether that be office-based or operational, to reduce your chance of catching/spreading COVID-19. Details to order lateral flow tests online are available here, and ensure to follow government guidance if you test positive.

We also strongly encourage you to get your COVID-19 vaccination booster if you have not done so already, this will help extend the protection you gained from your first two doses and give you longer term protection. Learn more and book your appointment on the NHS website here.

Outside of the workplace it is just as important to follow all hygiene measures in place and pay attention to local government guidance.

If you have any queries or concerns, please email zzRM-COVID-19@ascoworld.com

Stay Safe,

The Task Force