Dorset heads into third national lockdown as Covid cases soar

All non-essential shops in Swanage to close, children out of school to the end of February 2021 and no travel “outside your local area”.

New Covid rules are to come into effect from midnight Monday 4th January 2021 to combat the spread of coronavirus amid a drastic spike in cases.


On Monday 4th January 2021, Boris Johnson announced that England would once again enter a national lockdown – with measures similar to the initial restrictions introduced in March 2020.

“You should not travel outside your local area”

Everyone is ordered to stay at home, except for exercise, shopping for essentials, attending medical appointments and for work if it cannot be done from home. The Prime Minister also listed those fleeing domestic violence as another one of the exceptions.

The new guidance on exercise says:

“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.”

For beauty spots like Purbeck it will mean that people from outside the local area will not be allowed to travel to the area for exercise, however they will be able to do so for work.

Other measures include social distancing of two metres from anyone not in your household or support bubble should be observed. Schools are only open for vulnerable children and the children of key workers and shielding has returned for the most clinically vulnerable.

Poole Hospital
Poole Hospital

Vaccination rollout

There was more information about the government plans for the delivery of the Covid vaccine. The Prime Minister said that care home workers and residents, everyone over 70 years old, frontline medical staff and the clinically vulnerable should have received the jab by mid-February 2021.

Public Health Dorset data for the week 23rd to 29th December 2020

This announcement comes at Public Health Dorset released the latest coronavirus data. Cases have rapidly increased across both Dorset Council and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council areas, although the number of hospital admissions has flattened off.

Confirmed cases in the last seven days

  • Dorset: 744 (compared to 455 last week)
  • BCP: 1,540 (compared to 865 last week)
  • South West: 13,980
  • England: 268,433

7 day case rates per 100,000

  • Dorset: 196.6 (compared to 120.2 last week)
  • BCP: 389.5 (compared to 218.8 last week)
  • South West: 248.5
  • England: 476.9

Hospital admissions

  • Covid-19 patients in hospital beds in Dorset on Monday 4th January 2021: 135 (compared to 134 on Tuesday 29th December 2020)
Stay at home poster

“Stay at home really does mean just that”

Responding to the latest number of Covid-19 cases and speaking just before the announcement of a national lockdown, director of Public Health Dorset, Sam Crowe said:

“We have seen a significant rise in cases across both council areas and this is extremely concerning, especially given the rises seen in London and the South East.

“We moved to Tiers 3 and 4 on 31st December but it is still too early to see the impacts of the new measures that came into place. But let’s be really clear, if everyone follows the measures as set out, we will reduce transmission, and protect the most vulnerable.

“Stay at home really does mean just that. I’d urge everyone to stay at home as much as possible and only leave home for essential reasons – shopping for food, caring for someone or for work only if absolutely necessary and if your role cannot be conducted from your own home.

“Stopping social mixing between households is the most important action we can take now against the virus, along with regular hand washing, wearing a face covering, and ventilating indoor spaces.”

Royal Bournemouth Hospital
Royal Bournemouth Hospital

Lack of capacity in hospitals to cope with the additional pressure

Part of the reason behind the national lockdown is the lack of capacity in hospitals to cope with the additional pressure of Covid patients during the winter. Dorset County Hospital said that it was currently extremely busy and this was echoed by University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust that runs Poole, Bournemouth and Christchurch hospitals. It said:

“Our hospitals are currently extremely busy. Please only attend our Emergency Departments for serious or life-threatening situations and if you are unsure where to go, call NHS 111 or visit in the first instance.”

For those in need of support

The Swanage Community Coronavirus Response group is able to offer neighbourly help including doing shopping and collecting prescriptions for anyone shielding. It also shares information and supports each other during the coronavirus pandemic. It can be contacted via its website or Facebook group

Dorset Council is also offering help, such as access to food or medicine or advice about finances. More information can be found by contacting Dorset Council on 01305 221000 or via its website

Further information

  • Find out what you can and cannot do by reading the government’s latest guidance
  • Read the latest update on Covid-19 cases in Dorset on the Public Health Dorset website

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