What is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus (or COVID-19) is a new virus that affects your lungs and airways. The symptoms of coronavirus are possessing a high temperature, a cough and being short on breath. There is currently no cure or vaccine for Coronavirus, but help and support is available from local charities.
What are the symptoms?
If you are infected you experience a range of symptoms but the two symptoms to look out for are:
- A new continuous cough
- A fever or high temperature
What should I do if I have either of the above symptoms?
- Protect others - don't call NHS 111
- Protect others - don't call, or go to your GP
- Protect others - don't go to your local hospital
If you live alone - stay at home without any visitors (self-isolate) immediately for 7 days
If you live with others - you should all isolate yourselves at home for 14 days - this 14-day period starts from the day the first person in the home noticed the symptoms.
You staying at home for 7 or 14 days will stop you causing other people to get sick and possibly die - don't risk it.
For anyone in your home who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period.
If at-risk people share your home - such as those who are older and those with underlying health conditions - ideally they should move out, perhaps to stay with friends or family for the whole isolation period. If they can't move out, they must keep as much distance as possible from others in the home during this period. Use disinfectant to keep surfaces clean, wash hands and keep them away from your face.
For further information read this government advice on staying at home and isolating.
What are my responsibilities?
If you are planning to donate blood, please follow the latest advice from: https://www.blood.co.uk/news-and-campaigns/news-and-statements/coronavirus-covid-19-updates/
If you go outside, you must stay at least 2 metres (6 feet) apart from people outside of your household at all times.
You can only meet up to 15 people from 7 other households outdoors and 8 people from 2 other household indoors.
You should regularly wash your hands with warm water and soap, or alcoholic hand sanitiser if this is not possible.
You should wear a face covering in shops at all times.
Steps to stop the spread of the virus:
- Avoid non-essential contact with others - work from home if you can and don't socialising with others - if you do go out keep 6 feet (2metres) distance.
- Wash your hands - with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds. Do this before leaving home and after returning home, before eating and drinking, and after coughing or sneezing.
- Cover your mouth and nose - with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze - tissue in the bin and wash, or disinfect, your hands immediately.
- Don't touch your face - especially your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean surfaces - disinfect surfaces around you - especially mobiles, computers, keyboards, worktops, desks, handles...
Should I use hand sanitiser gel or soap and water?
You should wash your hands with soap and water for at last 20 seconds regularly but particularly when you return home. If you're out and about and cannot get access to soap and water cleaning your hands thoroughly with hand sanitiser gel can be effective against the virus.
Should I wear a face mask?
You should wear a face mask on public transport, in shops, and in confined spaces where social distancing is not possible at all times.
Physical distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene, are the most important and effective measures we can all adopt to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Therefore the wearing of facial coverings must not be used as an alternative to any of these other precautions.
The evidence on the use of face coverings is limited, but there may be some benefit in wearing a facial covering when you leave the house and enter enclosed spaces, especially where physical distancing is more difficult and where there is a risk of close contact with multiple people you do not usually meet. Examples include, traveling on public transport or entering a food shop where it is not always possible to maintain a 2 metre distance from another customer. There is no evidence to suggest there might be a benefit outdoors, unless in an unavoidable crowded situation, where there may be some benefit.
As some people can have the virus but experience no symptoms (asymptomatic infection), wearing a face covering in the situations outlined above may provide some level of protection against transmission to other people in close proximity.
However, it remains the case that anyone with symptoms and all members of their household (whether they have symptoms or not), must self-isolate and adhere to the guidance on individual and household isolation on NHS Inform.
By face coverings we do not mean the wearing of a surgical or other medical grade mask but a facial covering of the mouth and nose, that is made of cloth or other textiles and through which you can breathe, for example a scarf.
When applying or removing the covering, it is important that you wash your hands first and avoid touching your face. After each use, you must wash the face covering at 60 degrees centigrade or dispose of safely. Face coverings should not be used for children under the age of two years.
We are recommending that you consider using face coverings in the limited circumstances described above as a precautionary measure. Given that the evidence of impact on transmission is relatively weak, the public use of facial coverings is not being made mandatory and will not be enforced at this stage. However, advice on how to travel safely makes clear that, where this is practical, you should wear a face covering when using public transport as a consideration to your fellow passengers and staff.
Staying at home
Can I go to the GP, dentist or another medical appointment?
Yes, however GP practices may postpone non-urgent medical appointments.
You should see your doctor for essential medical needs.
Can I visit my friends and family?
Yes. You are allowed to meet up to 15 people from 5 different households outside, however you should respect 2 metre social distancing at all times. You are also permitted to meet up to 8 people from 2 other households indoors, however you should respect 2 metre social distancing, keep surfaces clean, and wash your hands with warm soapy water.
You should try to keep in touch with friends and family through phone calls and video calls. This is an especially difficult time for those suffering from loneliness, anxiety or other mental health issues, so it is a good idea to keep regular contact with friends and family by calling or texting them.
Can I help a vulnerable person?
You are allowed to provide help or care for vulnerable people using the following government advice here.
You can only provide support to people who are in isolation if you fulfil ALL of the conditions below:
- You are well and have no symptoms like a cough or high temperature and nobody in your household does
- You are under 70
- You are not pregnant
- You do not have any long-term health conditions that make you vulnerable to coronavirus.
You must respect the 2 metre (6 feet) social distancing rule while outside of your house.
Can I drive to a national park or other green space to walk?
It is advised you avoid any unnecessary travel and only use greenspace or parks within 5 miles of your home where possible.
This can be done throughout the day, respecting the 2 metre (6 feet) social distancing rule.
What can the police do if I don't follow the advice?
If you do not comply the police may:
- instruct people to go home, leave an area or disperse
- ensure parents are taking necessary steps to stop their children breaking these rules
- issue a fixed penalty notice of £60, which will be lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days
- issue a fixed penalty notice of £120 for second time offenders, doubling on each further repeat offence
Individuals who do not pay a fixed penalty notice under the regulations could be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose unlimited fines.
If an individual continues to refuse to comply, they will be acting unlawfully, and the police may arrest them where deemed proportionate and necessary.
Can I take my pet to the vet?
Vets are open but practices have been asked to provide emergency services only and face-to-face contact should be limited. So only use the vet for urgent or emergency medical care.
My partner doesn't live with me can I visit them?
Yes, however it is advised that you socially distance where possible.
Can I move house?
Following advice from the Law Society, buyers and renters should, as far as possible, delay moving to a new house while emergency measures are in place. If you are self-isolating, or in a more at risk group it's more important for you to delay. If moving is unavoidable because you're contracted to do so and the other parties aren't able to agree a delay, you must follow advice on social distancing throughout your move.
Can I still shop online and is it safe?
Yes. Online sites, postal and delivery services will run as usual to ensure people can access essential goods. You won't have to sign for goods and they should be delivered to your home leaving a safe distance.
What can I do about getting an MOT?
MOTs are suspended for lorries, buses and trailers for up to three months. The Government has announced that cars, motorbikes and vans will be given an MOT exemption from the 30th March 2020. But you must still keep your car roadworthy and in a good condition.
When should I self-isolate?
- If you have a high temperature or new, continuous cough
- You must self-isolate for 7 days if you live alone
- You must all self-isolate for 14 days if you live with others (if someone gets symptoms during isolation all householders must remain symptom free for 7 days even if that means isolating for more than 14 days)
Self-isolation will save lives - it's important you follow the guidance if you're affected.- more information can be found here.
Why should you self-isolate?
- Self-isolation is the safest way to stop spread of the infection.
- People in the most vulnerable groups should consider self-isolating even if they don't have symptoms.
- Self-isolation saves lives - and while 90% of people will recover from this virus - some will get seriously ill and some will die - it is these people we need to protect.
Do I need to call NHS 111 to self-isolate?
No - but if your symptoms worsen during isolation or are no better after 7 days contact the NHS online coronavirus service. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.
How can I get a coronavirus sick note?
Online isolation and sick notes have been introduced to help employees prove they have to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic. Isolation notes are available to people who can not work for more than seven days, including those who are not showing symptoms but live with someone who does. Get your isolation note here.
How should I look after myself when I self-isolate?
- Get plenty of rest
- Drink plenty of water (fluids)
- Eat as health food
- To reduce pain and fever take paracetamol (if you use other mediation get in touch with your care provider)
- Keep in contact with friends and family by phone, video and online
What can I do to help?
Follow the expert advice. Wash hands, and self-isolate when you get symptoms and social-distance now - this is vital and will save lives. Good hygiene, social distancing and self-isolation are critical in the fight to slow the risk of infections - both for yourself and importantly for others - particularly those over 70, those with underlying health conditions and those who are pregnant.
Volunteer to help. There are now thousands of voluntary groups being run via Facebook and other social media sites. To join the national volunteer effort you can sign up here.
Where can I get the latest government information on coronavirus?
If you want access to all government advice on coronavirus you'll find it here.
Why aren’t more people being tested?
As at the 25th of March over 97,019 tests had been completed. Testing is being prioritised for certain groups - by focusing our testing on the most vulnerable we help relieve pressure on the NHS and save more lives. As at the 24th March the UK has purchased 3.5 million antibody tests for deployment over the coming weeks.
As of 30 June, the UK currently has the 15th highest testing rate in the world.
What financial support can I get?
The Government have introduced significant measures to protect the financial resilience of individual and businesses and will likely take more steps over the coming days and weeks. The following two organisations provide updated and detailed support and advice about your money in light of coronavirus (COVID-19).
- This up-to-date guide from the Money Advice Service is easy to follow and filled with good advice about Government initiatives, sick pay and changes to claiming your benefits during this challenging time.
- The advice and benefits and grants calculators at Turn2Us are useful to get support if the coronavirus has had a negative impact on your finances.
For more information, please visit our financial support page here.
How much can I put on a contactless bank card?
To help manage through the coronavirus the limit has been increased to £45.00 from April the 1st.
Can I get up-to-date news about coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Yes sign up here (check your junk mail for the confirmation email).
Guidance for funeral services
You can find guidance for funeral services from the Scottish government website: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-funeral-services/
Businesses should visit https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/coronavirus-advice or call 0300 303 0660 for advice and support.
If you require any further advice or assistance, please contact Councillor Martin Dowey:
- Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Telephone number: 07583036724