All posts by Sian Gwilliam

I am a TV Production Consultant. In my downtime I run a group ticketing concierge company called MyCultureClub.com, and write about cultural and educational events.

Covid Update 29.Nov.21 & Omicron cases

GOV UK TRAVEL UPDATE (30.11.21)

From 4am 30th November 2021, fully vaccinated people must self-isolate and take a PCR test before the end of day 2 after they arrive in England. They may leave self-isolation if their PCR result is negative. Lateral flow tests will not be accepted.

You cannot use an NHS test for this. You must use a private test providerYou will need to enter your COVID-19 test booking reference number on your passenger locator form.

If you will be in England for less than 2 days you still need to book and pay for a day 2 COVID-19 test.

People who qualify as fully vaccinated must quarantine and take a PCR test before the end of day 2 after they arrive in England. Lateral flow tests will not be accepted.

OMICRON CASES

  • There are concerns that a new variant, known as B.1.1.529 – which was identified in southern Africa – may not respond as well to vaccines.
  • All contacts of suspected Omicron cases will be required to self-isolate for 10 days.
  • This is regardless of a person’s vaccination status.
  • Anyone entering the UK will require a PCR test by the end of the second day after their arrival and will need to self-isolate until they have a negative result.

UK’s RED LIST

  • Countries in southern Africa are being placed on the UK’s travel red list because of concern about this new Covid variant.
  • These are; South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini, Angola, Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia 
  • Travellers from all of these countries will not be able to enter the UK unless they are UK or Irish nationals, or UK residents.
  • Arrivals will then have to pay for and self-isolate in a government-approved hotel for 10 days.
  • Rates are;
  • 10 days (11-nights) for one adult – £2,285
  • Additional adult (or child over 11) – £1,430
  • Children aged five to 11 – £325

FACE COVERINGS

  • From Tuesday 31.11.21, people will have to wear face coverings in shops and on public transport in England.
  • The changes do not include hospitality settings.
  • Rules are being tightened up as part of the government’s “precautionary measures” against the Omicron variant of coronavirus.
  • The PM said the new rules were temporary and would be reviewed after three weeks.
  • Under the government’s Covid “Autumn and Winter Plan”, face covering use has been recommended in crowded and enclosed spaces. 
  • Check the GOV UK latest rules here

USEFUL LINKS FOR PRODUCTION

BECTU TV rates

Employment Status Guidance – HMRC

PMA – Production Managers Association

TV Watercooler – Freelancer website for TV professionals (great for entry level)

Standard Broadcaster Budget Formats

HMRC Meal allowance rates

UK GDPR

Holiday Pay Calculator

BUDGET TEMPLATES DPP

OFCOM CODE

BAFTA

HMRC Employment Status Manual

WFTV – The leading membership organisation for women working in creative media in the UK

US CASTING AGENCIES DIRECTORY

PACT UK – Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television – the UK’s trade association for independent producers

CREATIVE DIVERSITY NETWORK

BRITISH FILM COMMISSION

FILMING IN ENGLAND

4SKILLS – Opportunities to begin and develop your career in the media industry with @Channel4 and friends! http://facebook.com/Channel4Skills http://instagram.com/Channel4Skills

DIRECTORS UK

THE TV MINDSET –

A place to support the mental health of TV & Film freelancers and bring meaningful change to working practices in the industry. Founded by @adeelamini.

RTS – The Royal Television Society is for everyone with an interest in TV. Follow us for TV news, events and awards

DCMSArtsandCulture

PACT

SCREENSKILLS

SHARE MY TELLY JOB – promoting flexible work and job share opportunities for TV freelancers. Creators of The Time Project

COVID-19 ISOLATING GUIDANCE FOR PRODUCTION

COVID-19 ISOLATING GUIDANCE  – ((18.JUN.21)- always check the latest guidelines from GOV UK when isolating, and advising production teams and crew to isolate.

Info on isolation due to testing positive from COVID-19 from GOV UK

What are Covid-19 symptoms ?

a new continuous cough

a high temperature

a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

What types of covid tests are available ?

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests

Lateral Flow Device antigen (LFD) tests also known as Rapid Lateral Flow tests

What happens if I have received one or more doses of COVID-19 vaccine?

While COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to reduce the likelihood of severe illness for those who have received them, we do not yet know for certain by how much they reduce the likelihood of a vaccinated person spreading COVID-19 to others.

What happens if I have COVID-19 symptoms or have received a positive COVID-19 test result?

Your isolation period starts immediately from when your symptoms started, or, if you do not have any symptoms, from when your test was taken. Your isolation period includes the day your symptoms started (or the day your test was taken if you do not have symptoms), and the next 10 full days. This means that if, for example, your symptoms started at any time on the 15th of the month (or if you did not have symptoms but your first positive COVID-19 test was taken on the 15th), your isolation period ends at 23:59 hrs on the 25th.

What happens if have a negative COVID-19 PCR test?

You can stop isolating as long as:

you are well

no-one else in your household has symptoms or has tested positive for COVID-19

you have not been advised to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace

What do I need to do if I am isolating at home ?

You should spend as little time as possible in shared spaces such as kitchens, bathrooms and sitting areas.

Use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household where possible

You should use separate towels from other household members, both for drying yourself after bathing or showering and for drying your hands. Keep your room well-ventilated by opening a window to the outside.

Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable should be supported to minimise their contact with other people in the household during this period, regardless of whether others have symptoms or not.

You should make sure you wash your hands, cover coughs and sneezes, and clean your home to reduce spread of infection.

Keep indoor areas well-ventilated with fresh air, especially shared living areas

What should I do to look after my health and well being ?

There are many sources of support and information, such as guidance on looking after your mental health and wellbeing and on supporting children and young people.

Every Mind Matters provides simple tips and advice to take better care of your mental health, including a COVID-19 hub with advice for those staying at home.

Remember by staying at home, you are helping to protect your friends and family, other people in your community and the NHS.

If you need medical advice

Health and care services remain open to help people with all health conditions, including COVID-19. Most people with COVID-19 will experience a mild illness which can be managed at home. Find out more about managing the symptoms of COVID-19 at home

Resources;

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

COVID SUPERVISOR CREDITS

  • NBCU / Covid Consultant
  • Snowglobe
  • ITV Studios / Covid Executive
  • The Big Breakfast
  • The Palooza
  • Get Me Out of Here
  • The Voice
  • Saturday Night Takeaway, Saturday Night Takeaway Drama,
  • Dancing on Ice,
  • Gary Barlow’s Night At The Museum and across all entertainment departments. Worked closely with ITV Risk Team.
  • Tiger Aspect / Covid Executive
  • Work across all labels/ scripted productions, Worked closely with Cat Fox HOP, and First Option Safety
  • Naked (part of Fremantle) / Covid Consultant/Supervisor
  • Tonight With Target, The Rap Game
  • Mitre Productions / Covid Supervisor
  • Ant & Dec social media shoots
  • Alaska Productions / Covid Consultant
  • Various development projects
  • ZNAKTV Covid Consultant
  • Masquerade Ball for FOX US
  • 2LE Media / Covid Consultant/ Supervisor
  • Language of Love for Channel 4
  • Next Of Kin / Covid Consultant
  • Primetime Pilot for ITV1
  • Entertainment One,/ Covid Consultant
  • Mousetrap for FOX US
  • LocazoPro / Covid Consultant

POSITIVE CASES AT WORK

Info for Positive Covid-19 Cases in the Workplace

The Virus

The virus can be spread by an individual 48 – 72 hours before their symptoms appear. It is therefore important to ensure open communication with other crew, cast and contributors who may have worked in close contact. However, it is also important to ensure that the individual’s privacy is maintained as medical information is deemed sensitive personal data.

Symptoms

If you have recent onset of any of the most important symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19):

  1. a new continuous cough
  2. a high temperature
  3. a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of smell or taste (anosmia)

you and your household must isolate at home: wearing a face covering does not change this. You should arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19.

Confirmed Positive Case

If a case is confirmed, those crew, cast and contributors who have been in close contact and/or in the same cohort, should be identified to the best of your abilities. Those individuals should be advised to seek medical advice and be asked to work from home for 10 days to monitor their symptoms, as a precautionary measure in conjunction with local health agency instructions.

What is a ‘contact’?

A ‘contact’ is a person who has been close to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 anytime from 2 days before the person was symptomatic up to 10 days from onset of symptoms (this is when they are infectious to others).This includes anyone you have been within 2 meters of for 15 minutes or more. The same rule applies if you have been in a car or vehicle with someone.

Keep a Record

The recording of key dates, location of meetings, recces and movements of the crew, cast or contributor will help inform local health agencies and help the production to identify other staff/crew or cast members who may have been in close contact. 

Positive Result

positive result means the individual had COVID-19 when the test was done. If their test is positive, they must self-isolate immediately.

  • If they had a test because they had symptoms, they should keep self-isolating for at least 10 days from when their symptoms started. 
  • If they had a test but have not had symptoms, they should self-isolate for 10 days from when they had the test. 
  • Anyone they live with, and anyone in their close contact bubble, must self-isolate for 10 days from when you start self-isolating. 

Inconclusive Test

An unclear, void, borderline or inconclusive result means it’s not possible to say if the individual had COVID-19 when the test was done. Another test should be arranged as soon as possible. If the individual had a test but did not have not any symptoms, they do not need to self-isolate while they are waiting to get another test. People they live with, and anyone in their close contact bubble, do not need to self-isolate.

Self Isolating ASAP

They should self-isolate as soon as possible, if they are at work they should return home directly, and order a test online athttps://www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test. If they don’t have access to the internet, a test can be ordered by calling 119 (in England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or 0300 303 2713 (in Scotland).

It is important that they do not get too close to other people and maintain a minimum of 2m distance from others in order to reduce the risk of transmitting infection.

Resources;

Isolating Guidance Gov UK

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

ICO Data Protection in the Workplace

https://ico.org.uk/global/data-protection-and-coronavirus-information-hub/coronavirus-recovery-data-protection-advice-for-organisations/

Gov UK List of Covid Testing Providers

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/list-of-private-providers-of-coronavirus-testing

nations & regions productions uk

To count towards the regional production quota by hours, relevant productions must meet two out of the following three criteria:

(1) Substantive base

The commissioned production company must have a substantive business and production base in the UK outside the M25, and the production in question must be managed from that substantive base.

The base will be taken to be substantive if it is the usual place of employment of:

  • executives managing the regional business; and
  • senior personnel involved in the production in question; and
  • senior personnel involved in seeking programme commissions.

(2) Production spend

At least 70% of the production spend must be spent in the UK outside the M25.

Production spend should be based on the entire production expenditure including any funding from third parties and spend outside the UK, and excluding the cost of on-screen talent, archive material, sports rights, competition prize-money, copyright costs and any production fee (other than where some of the production fee is used to fund the costs of the production). Legal fees count as relevant spend.

(3) Off-screen talent

At least 50% of the production talent (i.e. not on-screen talent) by cost must have their usual place of employment in the UK outside the M25. Freelancers without a usual place of employment outside the M25 will nonetheless count for this purpose if they live outside the M25.

Resources:

UK TEST TO RELEASE SCHEME

SWAB TEST. Patient and medical supervisor preparing for a COVID-19 nasal swab test. Image created by Russell Tate. Submitted for United Nations Global Call Out To Creatives – help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Why Quarantine is important

Quarantining will help prevent family, friends and the community from contracting coronavirus, as well as helping to protect the NHS

What is Test-to-Release?

Any Travellers arriving into the UK must undergo a mandatory 10 day quarantine as per current Government Guidelines. This quarantine period can be reduced to 5 days by producing a negative result using the government approved Test-to-Release scheme on day 5 of your arrival.

How the Test to Release scheme works

If you arrive in England from somewhere outside the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man you must quarantine for 10 days on arrival.

Under the Test to Release scheme you can choose to pay for a private COVID-19 test. If the result is negative, you can end your quarantine.

You cannot take a test until you have been in England for 5 full days.

The scheme is voluntary and applies to those quarantining in England only.

If you do not want to opt into the Test to Release scheme, you will need to quarantinefor 10 days.

What do I need to do to take part in the scheme?

To take part in the scheme you need to:

You will be asked to enter details of your test in the passenger locator form. You must do this to take part in the scheme.

When do I book the tests?

You should book your test before you travel to England. This is so you can enter details of the test when you opt into the scheme on the passenger locator form. If you decide to take part in the scheme after you have arrived in England, you will need to complete another passenger locator form.

Do I pay for the test myself?

Yes, You will have to pay the private test provider for your test. You will need to book an individual test for each person opting into Test to Release, including children.

The test provider will either send a test to your address or you can attend a testing site. You may leave your house to post your test or to travel directly to and from the testing site. You should follow safer travel guidance and avoid public transport if possible.

What do I do If me test is negative?

If the test result is negative you can stop quarantine as soon as you receive the result.

What do I do If I test positive for COVID-19?

If the test is positive you need to quarantine for another 10 days. Count the 10 days starting from the day after you took the test, or from when you first had symptoms if that is earlier.

People you live with in the UK, or people you are staying with, should also quarantine for 10 days from the date of your positive test.

You do not need to take the coronavirus test on or after day 8.

What happens if my test is inconclusive?

If the result from your test is inconclusive you must continue to quarantine. You can choose to take another privately provided test to find out if you can stop quarantine early.

You may be fined if you do not quarantine. The fine is £1,000 for the first time, up to £10,000 for further breaches.

Resources;

GOV UK Guidance

https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control/ending-self-isolation-early-through-test-to-release

Private Test Providers

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/list-of-private-providers-of-coronavirus-testing/list-of-private-providers-of-coronavirus-testing

Fill in the Passenger Locater Form

https://www.gov.uk/provide-journey-contact-details-before-travel-uk

Travelling to Northern Ireland

https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-international-travel-advice

Travelling to Wales

https://gov.wales/how-isolate-when-you-travel-wales-coronavirus-covid-19

Travelling to Scotland

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-international-travel-quarantine/pages/overview/

COMMON COVID QUESTIONS

1. Will the vaccine give me COVID?

The short answer is “no”. That’s because the vaccines approved for use so far in Australia and elsewhere don’t contain live COVID virus.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine contains an artificially generated portion of viral mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid). This carries the specific genetic instructions for your body to make the coronavirus’s “spike protein”, against which your body mounts a protective immune response.

The AstraZeneca vaccine uses a different technology. It packages viral DNA into a viral vector “carrier” based on a chimpanzee adenovirus. When this is delivered into your arm, the DNA prompts your body to produce the spike protein, again stimulating an immune response.

Any vaccine side-effects, such as fever or feeling fatigued, are usually mild and temporary. These are signs the vaccines are working to boost your immune system, rather than signs of COVID itself. These symptoms are also common after routine vaccines.

2. Will the COVID vaccine make me test positive?

No, a COVID vaccine will not affect the results of a diagnostic COVID test.

The current gold-standard diagnostic test is known as nucleic acid PCR testing. This looks for the mRNA (genetic material) of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This is a marker of current infection.

This is the test the vast majority of people have when they line up at a drive-through testing clinic, or attend a COVID clinic at their local hospital.

Yes, the Pfizer vaccine contains mRNA. But the mRNA it uses is only a small part of the entire viral RNA. It also cannot make copies of itself, which would be needed for it to be in sufficient quantity to be detected. So it cannot be detected by a PCR test. 

The AstraZeneca vaccine also only contains part of the DNA but is inserted in an adenovirus carrier that cannot replicate so cannot give you infection or a positive PCR test.

3. How about antibody testing?

While PCR testing is used to look for current infection, antibody testing — also known as serology testing — picks up past infections.

Laboratories look to see if your immune system has raised antibodies against the coronavirus, a sign your body has been exposed to it. As it takes time for antibodies to develop, testing positive with an antibody test may indicate you were infected weeks or months ago.

But your body also produces antibodies as a response to vaccination. That’s the way it can recognise SARS-CoV-2, the next time it meets it, to protect you from severe COVID.

So as COVID vaccines are rolled out, and people develop a vaccine-induced antibody response, it may become difficult to differentiate between someone who has had COVID in the past and someone who was vaccinated a month ago. But this will depend on the serology test used.

The good news is that antibody testing is not nearly as common as PCR testing. And it’s only ordered under limited and rare circumstances.

For instance, when someone tests positive with PCR, but they are a false positive due to the characteristics of the test, or have fragments of virus lingering in the respiratory tract from an old infection, public health experts might request an antibody test to see whether that person was infected in the past. They might also order an antibody test during contact tracing of cases with an unknown source of infection.

4. If I get vaccinated, do I still need a COVID test if I have symptoms?

Yes, we will continue to test for COVID as long as the virus is circulating anywhere in the world.

Even though the COVID vaccines are looking promising in preventing people from getting seriously sick or dying, they won’t provide 100% protection. 

Real-world data suggests some vaccinated people can still catch the virus, but they usually only get mild disease. We are unsure whether vaccinated people will be able to potentially pass it to others, even if they don’t have any symptoms. So it’s important people continue to get tested.

Furthermore, not everyone will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. For instance, in Australia, current guidelines exclude people under 16 years of age, and those who are allergic to ingredients in the vaccine. And although pregnant women are not ruled out from receiving the vaccine, it is not routinely recommended. This means a proportion of the population will remain susceptible to catching the virus.

We also are unsure about how effective vaccines will be against emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants. So we will continue to test to ensure people are not infected with these strains.

We know testing, detecting new cases early and contact tracing are the core components of the public health response to COVID, and will continue to be a priority from a public health perspective.

Minimum numbers of daily COVID tests are also needed so we can be confident the virus is not circulating in the community. As an example, New South Wales aims for 8,000 or more tests a day to maintain this peace of mind.

Continued vigilance and high rates of testing for COVID will also be important as we enter the flu season. That’s because the only way to differentiate between COVID and influenza (or any other respiratory infection) is via testing.

5. Will testing for COVID stop as time goes on?

It is unlikely our approach to COVID testing will change in the immediate future. However, as COVID vaccines are rolled out and since COVID is likely to become endemic and stay with us for a long time, the acute response phase to the pandemic will end. 

So COVID testing may become part of managing other infectious diseases and part of how we respond to other ongoing health priorities.

Credit : https://theconversation.com/will-the-covid-vaccine-make-me-test-positive-for-the-coronavirus-5-questions-about-vaccines-and-covid-testing-answered-155958

TEST and Trace & ISOLATING GUIDELINES (gov.uk)

(NHS – gov.uk website)

GUIDANCE FOR PEOPLE WITH POSSIBLE OR CONFIRMED CORONAVIRUS INFECTION (COVID-19)

 If you have an NHS Test and Trace of a positive test result…

Your isolation period starts immediately from when your symptoms started, or, if you do not have any symptoms, from when your test was taken. Your isolation period includes the day your symptoms started (or the day your test was taken if you do not have symptoms), and the next 10 full days. This means that if, for example, your symptoms started at any time on the 15th of the month (or if you did not have symptoms but your first positive COVID-19 test was taken on the 15th), your isolation period ends at 23:59 hrs on the 25th.

GUIDANCE IS FOR…

  • people with symptoms that may be caused by COVID-19, including those who are waiting for a test
  • people who have received a positive COVID-19 test result (whether or not they have symptoms)
  • people who currently live in the same household as someone with COVID-19 symptoms, or with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19

SYMPTOMS ARE…

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

For most people, COVID-19 will be a mild illness. However, if you have any of the symptoms above, even if your symptoms are mild, stay at home and arrange to have a test.

We will ask you:

  • if you have family members or other household members living with you. In line with the medical advice they must remain in self-isolation for the rest of the 10-day period from when your symptoms began
  • if you have had any close contact with anyone other than members of your household. We are interested in in the 48 hours before you developed symptoms and the time since you developed symptoms. Close contact means:
  • having face-to-face contact with someone less than 1 metre away (this will include times where you have worn a face covering or a face mask)
  • having been within 2 metres of someone for more than 15 minutes (either as a one-off contact, or added up together over one day)
  • travelling in a car or other small vehicle with someone (even on a short journey) or close to them on a plane
  • if you work in – or have recently visited – a setting with other people (for example, a GP surgery, a school or a workplace). The use of face masks and other forms PPE does not exclude somebody from being considered a close contact, unless they are providing direct care with patients or residents in a health and care setting

We will ask you to provide, where possible, the names and contact details (for example, email address, telephone number) for the people you have had close contact with. As with your own details these will be held in strict confidence and will be kept and used only in line with data protection laws.

If NHS Test and Trace identify you as a contact and you work in a critical service where the recommendation for you to self-isolate would have impact on providing that critical service, your employer will need to escalate this to the local health protection team (HPT) for a risk-assessment.