We revealed earlier this week that more English swimmers would be kept out of the water due to a widening of what the nation calls its ‘tier 4’ coronavirus hotspot designation. However, after a press conference by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the entire nation is now entering a new national lockdown.
Johnson said the country is at “a critical moment,” with cases rising rapidly in every part of the nation, including a new variant of COVID-19, leading new rules to come into effect ‘as soon as possible’ and lasting until at least mid-February.
This means that swimmers could be out of the water for up to 6 weeks, with the British Swimming Championships (Olympic Trials) on the horizon for April.
World Championships medalists Adam Peaty, Luke Greenbank, Duncan Scott and James Wilby have already been named to GBR’s Olympic team, but the remaining roster spots will be fought for by some of the up-and-coming non-elites who have seen their training disrupted time and again since the pandemic has evolved.
As in previous lockdowns, it is most likely that elite swimmers training at national centres will be exempt from the lockdown for training, but we have reached out to the nations’ swimming governing bodies for confirmation.
Update since original publishing: Swim Ireland has confirmed that elites are able to continue to train in both Republic and Northern Ireland at the moment.
Per the AP, primary and secondary schools and colleges will be closed for face to face learning except for the children of key workers. University students will not be returning until at least mid-February.
The UK Government’s website advises, effective January 5th, “You must stay at home. The single most important action we can all take is to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.”
In terms of what is/is not allowed during this national lockdown, the site lists the following:
You must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary. You may leave the home to:
- shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
- go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
- exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
- meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
- seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
- attend education or childcare – for those eligible
- You cannot leave your home to meet socially with anyone you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with (if you are legally permitted to form one).
- You may exercise on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble.
- You should not meet other people you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, unless for a permitted reason.
- Stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household.
Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon also implemented a lockdown through at least the end of January, with people required to stay home save for essential reasons, so as to not overload hospitals and intensive care units. Note: Scotland controls its own health policy.