Updated about COVID-19 – Novel Coronavirus (16th March 2020)
As of last Friday 13th March 2020, we have moved into a new phase of how we look to protect people in the UK from COVID-19, and are moving into the “delay” phase of the COVID-19 action plan, which can be found https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-action-plan
A press conference was held by the Prime Minister, and the Chief Scientific and Medical Officers on 16th March, who set out the new approach and reasons for it. Please see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAE8-e5_EKY to watch the press conference in full.
People are now being asked to stay at home:
- if they have symptoms, stay at home for 7 days
- If you live with other people, you should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms
If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible
Detailed information and advice for the public about what they should do can be found https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ on the NHS.uk website (and will be regularly updated). There is some new Stay at Home guidance, which can be found https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance
People do not need to phone NHS111 if their symptoms are mild but should do if their symptoms worsen/if they need medical care, or if symptoms do not get better after 7 days. There is also a 111 online service that people are being asked to use in the first instance.
Washing hands regularly with soap and water is one of the best way we can prevent spread of the infection.
There will no longer be a focus on where someone has travelled from/to, and the advice is based on symptoms only. Testing will now be based in hospitals only, and people in the community will not be tested. Asking whole households (i.e. people living in the same household as somebody with symptoms) to stay at home is not advised at this stage, but may be advised later.
Further information for the public about the situation can be found https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public and a dashboard showing confirmed cases can be found https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/f94c3c90da5b4e9f9a0b19484dd4bb14
Please see PHE advice against use of COVID rapid tests that are being marketed
Department of Education have a helpline up and running to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education:
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)
It is extremely important, as the national situation evolves, that we think about how we can best support the mental health and wellbeing of people affected by the outbreak – individuals, families, workplaces, schools, as well as people who are working hard to protect the health of our communities. The Mental Health foundation has some good advice https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/looking-after-your-mental-health-during-coronavirus-outbreak.
Also, following simple advice about washing our hands more regularly with soap and water really can make a difference.
Travel advice is changing regularly as the situation changes internationally. We recommend that you look up country-specific information and advice on the Foreign Office website https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
Useful guidance, resources and communications materials,
A helpful list of all national guidance has also been published https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-guidance, and this contains guidance for a range of partners/sectors, including guidance for educational settings, adult social care settings (including guidance about returning health and care workers), the transport sector, guidance for employers and businesses as well as advice for professionals advising the public and NHS guidance. Please note that these guidance documents are in the process of being updated to reflect the new key advice described above
PHE have produced a “Finding the Evidence” collection of resources - https://phelibrary.koha-ptfs.co.uk/coronavirusinformation/
Information about 5 things we can all do to protect ourselves and our community can be found https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/03/04/coronavirus-covid-19-5-things-you-can-do-to-protect-yourself-and-your-community/
A national handwashing poster can be found https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/101/resources/5016
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has worked with Future Learn to develop a new free to access online learning programme on COVID-19
Imperial College London have just opened up a new online COVID course.