COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.
West Berkshire Public Health department have put together advice and local support information; Click on the image below and it will take you to the main page where you can then click on what interests you or concerns you the most:
27th March 2020
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock both test positive for coronavirus
In line with Healthwatch England and government guidance we have currently suspended all our face to face activities and events. We will be working with local health and social care services and community organisations to help support people for the foreseeable future
Click here or the image below to read our Coronavirus Update
26th March 2020
Please note revised hours for the Downland Practice
NHS and social care staff will be given free car parking during the coronavirus outbreak, the government has said.
It comes after 400,000 people signed a petition urging the government to thank NHS workers by scrapping charges.
Department of Health Update:
You must not spend time with anyone outside of your household. Unfortunately, this includes any family or friends you don’t live with. Instead, you can phone, message, or video call online. Keeping in contact in this way is really important for your mental health.
Coronavirus Information from the NSPCC:
Our Childline counsellors have spoken to a growing number of children who are concerned about the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). We know many people, including parents and teachers, may need to offer support to a young person, so we’ve put together some advice to help:
Hampshire Hospital Update
For the safety of our patients, their families and our staff from Monday 30 March all outpatient appointments will be conducted by phone unless there is a clear clinical need. Click the image below for more details
25th March 2020
10 tips to help if you are worried about coronavirus from NHS – Every Mind Matters:
The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak may cause you to feel anxious, stressed, worried, sad, helpless, overwhelmed, confused or angry. It’s important to remember it is OK to feel this way and that everyone reacts differently to different events.
There are some simple things you can do to help you take care of your mental health and wellbeing during times of uncertainty – and doing so will help you think clearly and make sure you are able to look after yourself and those you care about.
Urgent appeal from Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust
Great Western Hospital Update:
Royal Berkshire Hospital Update from Trust Chief Executive Steve McManus:
The next stages in a major Covid-19 action plan aimed at ensuring local patients, staff and communities are guaranteed first class health care and support have been outlined by hospital leaders today.
The far reaching plan builds on work already in place at the Royal Berkshire Hospital Foundation Trust and is aimed at reassuring people that everything possible is being done to make sure they are kept safe and well during the current Covid-19 outbreak.
Click the image below to read the letter in full:
24th March 2020
Coronavirus Update from the Jobcentre:
“Keeping our Customers Safe”In line with Government advice, to help protect our customers and colleagues, from 24 March our doors will be temporarily closed.
Keeping Informed and In Touch during Coronavirus
Learning Disability England has dedicated a space on their website to sharing information and resources about the virus and what you can to do to stay safe and well, and how people are staying connected and finding solutions.
Click the image below to read more.
Coronavirus update from Royal Association For Deaf People
Coronavirus easy read information
Mencap has produced an easy read coronavirus leaflet which you can read by clicking the image below
Photosymbols have also created a few easy read Coronavirus posters
- Poster 1 – How to stay safe
- Poster 2 – Health issues
- Poster 3 – What if you get ill?
- Poster 4 – Staying at home
- Poster 5 – Please don’t spread it
- Poster 6 – You must stay at home
Click the links above or the image below to see the posters.
Coronavirus Update : Stay at home unless you have to do one of the following:
23rd March 2020
The Prime Minister tells the public ‘they must stay at home’
From tonight, people will be allowed to leave their homes for:
- shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
- one form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle, alone or with members of their household;
- any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person;
- travelling to and from work, but only where it is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Update:
With immediate effect from today (Monday 23 March 2020) we will not allow any visitors to our hospitals – with a few exceptions:
- Maternity – one birth partner only. Strictly no other children.
- Paediatrics – one parent/guardian only. Strictly no siblings.
- Patients at the end of life – in the difficult and upsetting circumstances where patients may be at the end of their life, the nurse or midwife in charge will enable up to one visitor per patient to spend time with their loved one.
- Advocates / visitors who are required to make decisions on behalf of patients who do not have the capacity to make decisions for themselves
Carers UK Update Their Information Surrounding Coronavirus:
As the situation with coronavirus evolves, it’s important to know what support is available to you as a carer and those you look after.If you are worried that you or someone you look after may be at risk, NHS 111 can offer direct guidance through their online coronavirus helpline. Call 111 if your (or their) symptoms become severe, and let them know you are a carer.
Department of Health Update About Travel:
During the coronavirus pandemic, people should avoid travelling unless it is essential. This means you should avoid visiting holiday or second homes.
22nd March 2020
What is Social Distancing:
21st March 2020
Do you know someone with serious underlying health conditions?
Share the latest guidance with them via whats app.
Department of Health’s to helping the at risk patients:
This guidance is for people, including children, who are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) because of an underlying health condition, and for their family, friends and carers.
It is intended for use in situations where the extremely vulnerable person is living in their own home, with or without additional support. This includes the extremely clinically vulnerable people living in long-term care facilities, either for the elderly or persons with special needs.
Change in Advice from the Department of Health for at risk patients:
Some people with serious underlying health conditions face the highest risk of being hospitalised by the coronavirus.
We are now urging these people to stay at home.
- Organ Transplant Recipients
- People with specific cancers
- People having treatments for cancer
- People with severe respiratory conditions
- People with rare diseases
- People on immunosuppression therapies
- People who are pregnant with significant congenital heart disease.
Please see the full list below:
New plans to keep the at risk people at home:
Robert Jenrick the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government unveiled plans for a new Local Support System in partnership with councils, businesses and voluntary groups to deliver vital groceries and medicines to the most vulnerable people at the highest risk.
A raft of new measures, including a helpline for the most in need of support, have been set out for those considered to be extremely vulnerable.
- Government urges up to 1.5 million people in England who face the highest risk of being hospitalised by the virus to shield themselves and stay at home
- People with specific underlying health conditions, including some being treated for cancer, will be contacted by the NHS this week
- Plans also unveiled to deliver groceries and medicines for those most at risk from the virus where needed
20th March 2020
Coronavirus: Support for rough sleepers in West Berkshire
Rough sleepers will be given extra support during the coronavirus pandemic thanks to a new task force set up by West Berkshire Council and partner agencies. Read more by clicking the image below.
The Greenham Trust has put in place £250,000 of emergency coronavirus funding which is available to benefit local charitable and voluntary organisations who are supporting elderly and vulnerable people through the coronavirus crisis in West Berkshire and North Hampshire.
The trust has also launched a public appeal on its charitable funding platform, The Good Exchange, and pledged to match up to £100,000 of this funding for donations received via the platform.
For every £1 raised, Greenham Trust will match £1 to support local charities that require additional help during these unprecedented times.
Learn more by clicking the image below.
Coronavirus Daily Breifing
The government is to pay 80% of wages for employees unable to work due to the coronavirus pandemic, up to £2,500 a month, the chancellor has announced.
Cafes, pubs and restaurants must close from Friday night, except for take-away food, to tackle coronavirus All the UK’s nightclubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres have also been told to close “as soon as they reasonably can”
Coronavirus information via BBC News explainers
Care homes take steps to protect their residents
The Berkshire Care Association says care homes are asking relatives to be understanding of decisions made ‘against their traditional ethos’ in order to prevent virus outbreaks. More info HERE
Actions by care homes
- Allowing visitors in on an appointment-only basis to ensure residents can be seen in designated places and avoid lots of movement around the care home
- Encouraging relatives to use ‘video chats’ with residents with any communal iPad or other technology in care homes, at times pre-arranged with staff
- Asking family and friends not to visit residents if they are unwell in any way, including, coughs, colds, headaches or other illness
- Changing main door keycodes to number only known by staff, to stop people coming in accidentally without letting the care home know in advance
- Asking visitors to wash hands on arrival and when they leave
- Stopping all non-essential appointments to the home, meaning for example, GPs may only do virtual consultations with residents
- Reducing any usual ‘tactile’ contact such as hugs, by staff with residents to, ‘distance touch’ and reassuring words and kindness
- Not serving tea or coffee to visitors and/or stopping visitors from using communal kitchens, to avoid potential ‘droplet’ cross infection
- Stopping external group trips out of the home and stopping entertainers going into homes
19th March 2020
West Berkshire Council launch a Community Support Hub to help community groups, vulnerable people and to coordinate and support the community response to Covid-19
A number of organisations, including Healthwatch West Berkshire, have come together to offer help and support to residents of West Berkshire during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Read more by clicking the image below.
Care Homes to be closed to all but essential visitors
Great West Hospital asking everyone to do their part to help reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19
Newbury College Coronavirus update
“Following the government announcement, we will be moving to online delivery for all courses, wherever possible. We will be contacting students and families to discuss arrangements.” More details below.
18th March 2020
Boris Johnson has announced plans to close all schools in the UK to halt the spread of the coronavirus.
Schools will be shut until further notice for all pupils except children of key workers and the most vulnerable.
Here is everything we know about the shut-down.
When will schools close?
Schools, sixth-forms and colleges across the UK close after the final bell on Friday, March 20. Schools in Northern Ireland are already closed.
How long will they be shut?
Schools will be closed until further notice. At the moment, there is no indication from the Government when the school term might resume.
Will nurseries be open?
No. The same advice applies to nurseries.
Oxford University Hospitals on suspending all elective operations
In line with well-established plans, every hospital in England has been asked to suspend all elective (non-urgent) operations.
As the Chief Medical Officer for England has stated, NHS services nationally are likely to come under intense pressure as COVID-19 (coronavirus) spreads.
Therefore, in line with well-established plans for situations like this, every hospital in England has been asked to suspend all elective (non-urgent) operations from 15 April 2020 for at least three months, with some other procedures likely to be rescheduled before then.
At Oxford University Hospitals we will be:
- postponing all routine outpatient appointments for adults and children on all of our hospital sites – but we are exploring the possibility of ‘virtual clinics‘ and telephone consultations for outpatients
- also postponing all routine inpatient elective surgery for adults and children on all of our hospital sites
- maintaining as normal at present urgent and emergency cases and cancer treatments
More info HERE
Keith Ridge – Chief Pharmaceutical Officer on Pharmacy guidance
“Do not go into a pharmacy if you or someone you live with has coronavirus symptoms (high temperature and / or a new continuous cough). Ask someone else to collect your medicines for you, or order online.”
NHS advise people to take paracetamol to treat symptoms
Various information is circulating on social media about which medicines to use to help treat the symptoms of coronavirus.
NHS advice: take paracetamol to treat the symptoms of coronavirus, unless your doctor has told you it’s not suitable for you.
17th March 2020
New guidance has been published on what you need to do to protect yourself, protect others, and protect the NHS.
This guidance is for everyone. It advises on social distancing measures we should all be taking to reduce social interaction between people in order to reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). It is intended for use in situations where people are living in their own homes, with or without additional support from friends, family and carers.
17/03/2020 – Please take a few minutes to read this important advice, by clicking here.
Royal Berkshire Hospital change number of visitors allowed onto wards
Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust update visiting restrictions
In order to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 (commonly known as coronavirus), Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has taken the hard decision to introduce visiting restrictions at all of our hospitals. The sole reason for this is the safety of our patients, our staff and the wider community. Learn more here.
16th March 2020
Following the No.10 press conference there have been some updates to coronavirus guidance.
– If you live with other people and anyone in your household has a new
continuous cough or a high temperature, you should stay at home for 14
Try to get help from other people for daily necessities.
– If anyone in your household has none of the coronavirus symptoms, you should still stop all non essential contact with other people, work from home if possible, stop all unnecessary travel, and avoid clubs, pubs, theaters and other social venues.
This guidance being especially important if you are over 70 years old, if you are a pregnant woman, or if you have a health condition that makes you more vulnerable.
Great Western Hospital Restrictions
As part of our plans to help delay the spread of the virus, the Trust is placing some necessary restrictions on visiting, both in hospital and if our community team carries out a home visit.
Click HERE to read further details or read more below
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust update their rules and advice to patients, amidst coronavirus outbreak
With immediate effect, we are limiting visiting to all adult inpatient areas to one visitor per patient – and visiting hours will be restricted to 4.00pm – 7.00pm only.
We are also limiting the number of people who can accompany patients to our Emergency Departments, Emergency Assessment Units (EAU), outpatient departments, antenatal scans and imaging appointments to one person per patient.
In Maternity, we are restricting visitors to one birth partner only for all appointments including scans, the birth itself and postnatal visiting.
In Paediatrics, visiting is restricted to two parents / guardians only – no siblings.
In Maternity and Paediatrics the restrictions on visiting hours will not apply.
Case by case exceptions to the above need to be discussed with the nurse or midwife in charge of the ward or department.
Routine CQC inspections suspended in response to coronavirus outbreak
March 14th 2020
Strawberry Hill Medical Centre update their advice for patients
In response to the Corona Virus Pandemic we are suspending all face to face GP appointments.
– PLEASE DO NOT COME TO THE SURGERY –
Nursing appointments will continue as usual for now –
If you already have a booked appointment DO NOT ATTEND THE SURGERY. You will receive a PHONE CALL a the time of your appointment.
If you feel the need to be seen, please arrange a telephone appointment with your GP by phoning or booking online. If clinically appropriate, the doctor make arrangements for you to be seen at the surgery.
Anyone attending with RESPIRATORY SYMPTOMS (even for example a booked nursing appointment) will be turned away and asked to phone for a telephone appointment.
13th March 2020
Downland practice update their advice for patients
As you will be aware the UK is experiencing the COVID-19 Pandemic. GP appointments at the surgery will be screened by a GP telephone call first and then a decision will be made if the patient needs to attend the surgery. Repeat medication requests will only be issued for 1 month at a time due to supply concerns. Telephones will be answered where possible but the surgery is experiencing unplanned staff absences. Medications can be collected from the Pharmacy. Requests for non NHS services (requests for medical records/medicals etc) will be dealt with once the surgery is able to return to normal service. Questions submitted on the website may take longer to receive a reply again this is down to what staff we have available to deal with these requests.
On behalf on the GP Partners at the Downland Practice thank you for your patience.
12th March 2020
11th March 2020
8th March 2020
5th March 2020
Royal Berkshire NHS Trust has also released a statement.
It says: “Sadly, we can confirm that an older patient with underlying health conditions has died. The patient has previously been in and out of hospital for non-coronavirus reasons, but on this occasion was admitted and last night tested positive for coronavirus.
“The family has been informed and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.
“We will not be commenting further and ask that everybody respects the family’s privacy.
“Public Health England is contacting anyone who may have come into contact with the affected patient to offer advice.
“All services and appointments at the hospital are running normally. The Trust is following established guidelines to minimise the risk of the virus spreading.”
4th March 2020
2nd March 2020
Vodafone takes action after visitor to Newbury HQ tests positive for coronavirus
Several employees at Vodafone’s Newbury headquarters have been asked to work from home after coming into contact with a visitor who has tested positive for the Coronavirus.
A Vodafone UK spokesperson said: “We are aware that several of our employees in the UK have been in contact with a person visiting the office, who has tested positive for the coronavirus.
“As a precautionary measure, we have identified those employees and asked that they work from home.
“Our dedicated team will continue to monitor the situation, and we will take further action if required in line with advice from the health authorities.”
25th February 2020
25th February 2020 – Guidance for social or community care and residential settings on COVID-19 – Click HERE to read more.
1. Background and scope of guidance
Social and community care is taken to cover:
- long-term conditions services (LTC)
- rehabilitation services (RHS)
- community healthcare services (CHC)
- community-based services for people with mental health needs (MHC)
- community-based services for people with a learning disability (LDC)
- community social care (domiciliary care services including those provided for children (DCC))
- community-based services for people who misuse substances (SMC)
- community social workers
- residential children’s homes, including secure children’s homes
- care home services with nursing (CHN)
- care home services without nursing (CHS)
- support to people in their own homes
This guidance will assist social, community and residential care employers in providing advice to their staff on:
- the novel coronavirus, COVID-19
- how to help prevent spread of all respiratory infections including COVID-19
- what to do if someone suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 has been in a health or social care setting
- what advice to give to individuals who have travelled to specific areas, as outlined by the Chief Medical Officer (the full list is available here)
- risk assessments for undertaking domiciliary visits or providing care in residential settings
- actions to take if staff come into contact with someone who is self-isolating or is a possible or confirmed case of COVID-19
This guidance is intended for the current position in the UK where there is currently no transmission of COVID-19 in the community. It is therefore very unlikely that anyone receiving care in a care home or the community will become infected.
Children’s residential care settings may also find it helpful to be aware of guidance provided to educational settings.
2. Information about the virus
A coronavirus is a type of virus. As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world. COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China in January 2020.
The incubation period of COVID-19, is between 2 to 14 days. This means that if a person remains well 14 days after contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus, they have not become a case.
3. Signs and symptoms of COVID-19
The following symptoms may develop in the 14 days after exposure to someone who has COVID-19 infection:
- difficulty in breathing
Generally, these infections can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.
4. How COVID-19 is spread
From what we know about other coronaviruses, spread of COVID-19 is most likely to happen when there is close contact (within 2 metres) with an infected person. It is likely that the risk increases the longer someone has close contact with an infected person.
Respiratory secretions containing the virus are most likely to be the most important means of transmission; these are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, in the same way colds spread.
There are 2 main routes by which people can spread COVID-19:
- infection can be spread to people who are nearby (within 2 metres) or possibly could be inhaled into the lungs
- it is also possible that someone may become infected by touching a surface, object or the hand of an infected person that has been contaminated with respiratory secretions and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes (such as touching door knob or shaking hands then touching own face). Our current understanding is that the virus doesn’t survive on surfaces for longer than 72 hours.
There is currently little evidence that people without symptoms are infectious to others.
5. How long the virus can survive
How long any respiratory virus survives will depend on a number of factors, for example:
- what surface the virus is on
- whether it is exposed to sunlight
- differences in temperature and humidity
- exposure to cleaning products
Under most circumstances, the amount of infectious virus on any contaminated surfaces is likely to have decreased significantly by 72 hours.
Regular cleaning of frequently-touched hard surfaces and hands will therefore help to reduce the risk of infection.
6. Preventing the spread of infection
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus.
There are general principles anyone can follow to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
- washing your hands often – with soap and water, or use alcohol sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if handwashing facilities are not available – this is particularly important after taking public transport. Guidance is available on hand washing
- covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in a bin. See Catch It, Bin It, Kill It
- people who feel unwell should stay at home and should not attend work
- employees should wash their hands:
- before leaving home
- on arrival at work
- after using the toilet
- after breaks and sporting activities
- before food preparation
- before eating any food, including snacks
- before leaving work
- on arrival at home
- avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- if staff are worried about their symptoms or those of a family member or colleague, please call NHS 111. They should not go to their GP or other healthcare environment
- see further information and the Public Health England Blog and the NHS UK page
7. Guidance on facemasks
During normal day-to-day activities facemasks do not provide protection from respiratory viruses, such as COVID-19 and do not need to be worn by staff in any of these settings. Facemasks are only recommended to be worn by infected individuals when advised by a healthcare worker, to reduce the risk of transmitting the infection to other people. It remains very unlikely that people receiving care in a care home or the community will become infected.
PHE recommends that the best way to reduce any risk of infection for anyone is good hygiene and avoiding direct or close contact (within 2 metres) with any potentially infected person.
8. What to do if an employee becomes unwell and believe they have been exposed to COVID-19
If the staff, member of the public or resident has not been to specified areas in the last 14 days, then normal practice should continue.
If staff, member of the public or resident becomes unwell in the workplace and has travelled to China or other affected countries, the unwell person should be removed to an area which is at least 2 metres away from other people. If possible find a room or area where they can be isolated behind a shut door, such as a staff office. If it is possible to open a window, do so for ventilation.
The individual who is unwell should call NHS 111 from their mobile, or 999 if an emergency (if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk) and explain which country they have returned from in the last 14 days and outline their current symptoms. If the person affected is not able for any reason to call NHS 111 themselves then a staff member should call on their behalf.
Whilst they wait for advice from NHS 111 or an ambulance to arrive, they should remain at least 2 metres from other people. They should avoid touching people, surfaces and objects and be advised to cover their mouth and nose with a disposable tissue when they cough or sneeze and put the tissue in a bag then throw the tissue in the bin. If they don’t have any tissues available, they should cough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow.
If they need to go to the bathroom whilst waiting for medical assistance, they should use a separate bathroom if available. This will apply only to the period of time while waiting for transport to hospital.
9. Returning from travel overseas to affected areas
People who have returned from Hubei Province, including Wuhan, in the last 14 days should avoid attending work. They should call NHS 111 for advice and self-isolate.
There is advice in place for what to do if you have returned in the last 14 days from specified countries or areas which is being updated on an ongoing basis.
All other staff should continue to attend work.
10. Closure of the office or workplace or residential setting and other actions if staff, members of the public or residents are undergoing COVID-19 testing and they have been in the office, workplace or residential setting
No restrictions or special control measures are required in these settings while a member of staff or resident is waiting for laboratory test results for COVID19. In particular, there is no need to close or send staff home at this point. As a precautionary measure, the NHS are currently testing a very large number of people who have travelled back from affected countries, the vast majority of whom test negative. Therefore, until the outcome of test results is known there is no action that needs to be taken.
11. What to do if someone with confirmed COVID-19 has recently been in the office, workplace or residential setting
Closure of the office, workplace or residential setting is not recommended.
The management team of the office or workplace or residential setting will be contacted by the Public Health England (PHE) local Health Protection Team to discuss the case, identify people who have been in contact with them and advise on actions that should be taken.
An assessment of each setting will be undertaken by PHE’s local Health Protection Team with the lead responsible person. Advice on the management of staff, members of the public or residents will be based on this assessment.
The Health Protection Team will also be in contact with the case directly to advise on isolation and identifying other contacts and will be in touch with any contacts of the case to provide them with appropriate advice.
Advice on cleaning of communal areas such as offices or toilets will be given by the Health Protection Team and is outlined later in this document.
12. What to do if someone in the office, workplace or residential setting has had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19
If a confirmed case is identified in this setting, the local Health Protection Team will provide the relevant people with advice. It is important to follow the advice of the local Health Protection Team
Contacts are not considered cases and if they are well they are very unlikely to spread the infection to others:
- those who have had close contact will be asked to self-isolate at home or in their own room in a care or residential home for 14 days from the last time they had contact with the confirmed case and follow the home isolation advice sheet
- they will be actively followed up by the Health Protection Team
People who have not had close contact with the confirmed case do not need to take any precautions and can continue their routines as usual.
13. Advice for people if they have travelled from elsewhere in China (outside Hubei Province) or other specified countries
If they are currently well, they can attend work.
- they are advised to self-isolate only if they develop symptoms
- their family and workplace colleagues do not need to take any precautions or make any changes to their own activities
If they become unwell:
- they (or a family member, colleague or member of staff) should call NHS 111 immediately for them to be assessed by an appropriate specialist in hospital, as quickly as possible. They should not go to their GP or other healthcare environment
- they should stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as they would with other flu viruses (see this home isolation advice sheet)
- see further information and PHEs Blog
14. Advice for people if they have returned from travel anywhere else in the world within the last 14 days
Currently there are minimal cases outside the listed area and therefore the likelihood of an individual coming into contact with a confirmed case is extremely low.
These people can continue to attend work and go about their daily routine, unless they have been informed otherwise by their local Health Protection Team.
If individuals are aware that they have had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 they should contact NHS 111 for further advice.
For the latest country information please see the list of countries and areas affected.
15. Cleaning the office, workplace or residential setting where there are confirmed cases of COVID-19
The local Health Protection Team will provide advice on cleaning. Coronavirus symptoms are similar to a flu-like illness and include cough, fever, or shortness of breath. Once symptomatic, all surfaces that the person has come into contact with must be cleaned including:
- all surfaces and objects which are visibly contaminated with body fluids
- all potentially contaminated high-contact areas such as toilets, door handles, telephones
- clothing and linen used by the person should be set aside pending assessment of the person by a healthcare professional
Public areas where a symptomatic individual has passed through and spent minimal time in (such as corridors) but which are not visibly contaminated with body fluids do not need to be specially cleaned and disinfected.
16. Rubbish disposal including tissues
All waste that has been in contact with the individual, including used tissues, continence pads and other items soiled with bodily fluids, should be put in a plastic rubbish bag and tied. The plastic bag should then be placed in a second bin bag and tied. It should be put in a safe place and marked for storage until the COVID-19 test result is available, which will be within 24 hours.
If the individual tests negative, this can be put in the normal waste.
Similarly, laundry from the room of a possible case should be stored safely until the result of the test is known Should the individual test positive, the local Health Protection Team advise you what to do with the waste and laundry.
17. Specific actions for social and community care staff visiting patients at home or providing care to residents
People returning from some areas of the world are being told to self-isolate depending on the location they have visited and their symptoms. People who have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 are also being advised by their local Health Protection Team to self-isolate. People who are self-isolating and have no symptoms do not pose a risk to others. They are self-isolating to allow closer monitoring in order to identify early symptoms, and to enable prompt medical action if required.
Social, community and residential care staff should ascertain if a person is in self-isolation and if they are asymptomatic or symptomatic prior to their visit. If they are self -isolating and a visit is deemed necessary, then a full risk assessment should be undertaken with managers and infection control specialist to decide the best course of action.
If during a telephone consultation with a patient or their representative to assess their suitability for a domiciliary visit, it is thought that COVID-19 is possible (based on the PHE criteria for a possible case), then a face-to-face assessment must be avoided. Instead, call NHS 111 and arrange for a clinical assessment to be made before proceeding.
17.1 If the person is asymptomatic
As the person is asymptomatic there is no need to change your approach.
17.2 If the person is symptomatic
- avoid any further physical contact with the person, if you can. The person should remain in the room with the door closed. Belongings and waste with which they have come into contact should remain in the room
- advise anyone with you not to enter the room. If a travel or clinical history still needs to be obtained or completed, do this by telephoning the patient in the room
- ask the patient or their representative to call NHS 111 from their room
- inform your manager so that a full risk assessment can be undertaken with an infection control specialist to decide the next course of action
17.3 If the patient requires urgent medical attention
If the patient is critically ill and requires an urgent medical attention or ambulance transfer to a hospital, inform the ambulance call handler of the potential links to COVID-19.
Following the patient transfer to hospital, the room should be closed and should not be used until further advice is provided by the local Health Protection Team.
17.4 If the person has a negative COVID-19 test
If after assessment the person has a negative test, then no further action is required.
17.5 If the person has a positive COVID-19 test
If after assessment the person has a positive test, then a contact tracing exercise will be undertaken by the local Health Protection Team. You will be advised on any further actions, depending on your recent exposure to the patient.
18. What social, community and residential care settings need to do now
Currently there is no evidence of transmission of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom. There is no need to do anything differently in any care setting at present.
If any of your staff do become infected through travel to affected countries you will be contacted by your local Health Protection Team to take you through a risk assessment for your particular setting.
You may find it helpful to know about your local health protection team in advance of any outbreak of disease.
Health Protection Teams are part of Public Health England and will provide advice and guidance on infectious disease and non-infectious environmental hazards, manage and control outbreaks of infectious disease in the community and are a source of expert advice on new infections.
Your local public health team is led by your Director of Public Health. They will link closely with the Director of Adult Social Services in working with partners locally to respond to any cases of this infection.
20 February 2020
11 February 2020
10 February 2020
8 February 2020
7 February 2020
As of Friday 7 February 2020, a total of 620 UK tests have concluded, of which 617 were confirmed negative and 3 positive.
Based on the World Health Organization’s declaration that this is a public health emergency of international concern, the UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the public from low to moderate. This permits the government to plan for all eventualities. The risk to individuals remains low.
If you have travelled from Wuhan or Hubei Province, China to the UK in the last 14 days you should immediately, even if you do not have symptoms of the virus:
- stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with the flu
- call NHS 111 to inform them of your recent travel to the area
If you have returned to the UK from China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the last 14 days and develop symptoms of cough or fever or shortness of breath, you should immediately:
- stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with the flu
- call NHS 111 to inform them of your recent travel to the country
In Scotland, phone your GP or NHS 24 on 111 out of hours
If you are in Northern Ireland, call 0300 200 7885.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised UK nationals to leave China where possible. If the situation continues to escalate the pressure on the Chinese health system may intensify, and it may also become harder for people to travel.
28 January 2020
As of Tuesday 28 January 2020, there are currently no confirmed cases in the UK or of UK citizens abroad, and the risk to the public remains low.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) are advising against all but essential travel to the Hubei Province. Anyone travelling to China should remain vigilant and check the latest travel advice on GOV.UK.
We have updated our guidance for individuals who have returned from Wuhan, China as follows:
If you have returned from Wuhan in the last 14 days:
- stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with other flu viruses
- call NHS 111 to inform them of your recent travel to the city
Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director at PHE, said:
Isolating yourself from other people, like you would with other flu viruses, is in step with the best scientific and expert advice on how to stop the coronavirus from spreading.
This means taking simple, common sense steps, such as staying at home and avoiding close contact with other people as much as possible.
If you have visited Wuhan and develop a fever, difficulty breathing or a cough within 14 days, you should seek medical attention either in China or on your return to the UK.
In the UK, please stay indoors and avoid contact with others where possible, call your GP or ring 111 informing them of your symptoms and your recent travel to the city.
22 January 2020
UK public health measures are world leading and our excellent NHS is well prepared to manage and treat new diseases. We have been carefully monitoring the situation in Wuhan for some time and are ready to put in place proportionate, precautionary measures.
From today, 22 January 2020, enhanced monitoring will be in place from all direct flights from Wuhan to the UK. The enhanced monitoring package includes a number of measures that will help to provide advice to travellers if they feel unwell.
For those travelling back directly from Wuhan, this includes a Port Health team who will meet each direct flight aircraft to provide advice and support to those that feel unwell. The team will include the Principal Port Medical Inspector, Port Health Doctor, Administrative Support, and Team Leader.
They will check for symptoms of coronavirus and provide information to all passengers about symptoms and what to do if they become ill. Mandarin and Cantonese language support will be available to Public Health England (PHE) and leaflets will be available to passengers.
There are 3 direct flights a week that arrive at Heathrow from Wuhan. The enhanced monitoring of direct flights will be kept under continuous review and expanded to other Chinese departure points if necessary.
Leaflets and information will be made available across all UK airports, advising travellers from China on what do to if they feel unwell.
The risk to the UK population has been assessed as low, based on the emerging evidence regarding case numbers, potential sources and human to human transmission, the risk to travellers to Wuhan is moderate. This has been raised from very low due to current evidence on the likelihood of cases being imported into this country.
There are currently no confirmed cases of this new infection in the UK.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) issued clinical guidance for the detection and diagnosis of Wuhan Novel Coronavirus and PHE has developed a diagnostic test, making the UK one of the first countries outside China to have a prototype specific laboratory test for this novel disease.
Dr Nick Phin, Deputy Director, National Infection Service, Public Health England, said:
This is a new and rapidly evolving situation where information on cases and the virus is being gathered and assessed daily. Based on the available evidence, the current risk to the UK is considered low. We are working with the WHO and other international partners, have issued advice to the NHS and are keeping the situation under constant review.
If you are traveling to Wuhan, you should maintain good hand, respiratory and personal hygiene and should avoid visiting animal and bird markets or people who are ill with respiratory symptoms. Individuals should seek medical attention if they develop respiratory symptoms within 14 days of visiting Wuhan, either in China or on their return to the UK. They should phone ahead before attending any health services and mention their recent travel to the city.
20 January 2020
As of Monday 20 January 2020, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission has reported 217 cases of Wuhan Novel Coronavirus. Four of these cases have been diagnosed outside of China – 2 in Thailand, one in Japan and one in South Korea, following travel to Wuhan, China. There have also now been cases in other cities in China. There have been 3 fatalities.
Based on the latest information and analysis, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said that there is evidence of limited human to human transmission of the virus.
Currently, the risk to the UK population is very low and the risk to travellers to Wuhan is low, but the situation is under constant review. However, in line with our robust preparedness activities for emerging infections, we have issued clinical guidance for the detection and diagnosis of Wuhan Novel Coronavirus. There are no confirmed cases of this new infection in the UK.
Dr Nick Phin, Deputy Director, National Infection Service, Public Health England, said:
Based on the available evidence, the current risk to the UK is very low. We are working with the WHO and other international partners, have issued advice to the NHS and are keeping the situation under constant review.
People travelling to Wuhan should maintain good hand, respiratory and personal hygiene and should avoid visiting animal and bird markets or people who are ill with respiratory symptoms. Individuals should seek medical attention if they develop respiratory symptoms within 14 days of visiting Wuhan, either in China or on their return to the UK, informing their health service prior to their attendance about their recent travel to the city.
13 January 2020
Public Health England (PHE) is monitoring the situation with international partners, including the World Health Organization (WHO). PHE has also issued advice to travellers ahead of Chinese New Year this month.
The risk to the UK population is very low and the risk to travellers to Wuhan is low, but they are advised to take simple precautions such as practicing good hand and personal hygiene and minimise contact with birds and animals in markets in Wuhan as a further precaution.
The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission has reported 41 cases of the disease so far, the majority of which appear to be connected to a seafood and animal market in the city. There have been no deaths reported and there is no significant evidence of transmission from person to person or any signs of illness among medical and nursing staff.
Dr Nick Phin, National Infection Service Deputy Director at PHE, said on the reported Wuhan novel coronavirus:
Based on the available evidence, the risk to travellers to Wuhan from this disease is low and we are not advising them to change their plans.
In order to minimise the risk of transmission, people travelling to the area should maintain good hand and personal hygiene. Travellers should seek medical attention if they develop respiratory symptoms within 14 days of visiting Wuhan, informing their health service prior to their attendance about their recent travel to the city.
The risk to the UK population is very low. The UK has robust arrangements to manage emerging diseases and we can draw on our experience of developing pioneering diagnostic tests in humans for the coronaviruses – SARS and MERS.
Besides the evolving situation in Wuhan, all travellers should also be aware of the risk of avian flu when visiting China during the Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, beginning on 25 January 2020.
Human cases of avian influenza have recently been reported in China, and historically there have been more cases at this time of year. Cases have originated from several provinces and municipalities across mainland China, and there have been a small number of avian influenza cases among Hong Kong SAR and Taiwan residents who have travelled to mainland China.
The majority of reported human cases in China have had close contact with wild birds or poultry. Although the risk is very low, Public Health England and the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) are reminding UK travellers to protect themselves from avian flu by minimising exposure to wild birds and poultry.
Dr Phin added on avian flu:
Although the risk of avian flu to UK residents travelling to China remains very low, anyone planning to visit China, Hong Kong SAR or Taiwan should minimise their exposure to any birds such as wild birds or live birds in ‘wet markets’ as a precaution.
We strongly urge people to avoid touching dead or dying birds and maintain good hand and personal hygiene.
Avian influenza remains a risk in a number of parts of China and if travellers experience coughing or difficulty breathing within 14 days of returning from China, they should call their GP or NHS 111 and report their recent travel.