With so much information being shared on the COVID-19 coronavirus we should all be using government advice to inform decisions and be checking that advice regularly. Please refer to https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus for official guidance.
The government issued a press statement on 16th March advising social distancing for everyone in the UK, particularly those at increased risk of servere illness. This includes the following groups of people:
- aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
- under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (ie anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds):
- chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
- chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
- chronic kidney disease
- chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
- chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
- problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
- a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
- being seriously overweight (a BMI of 40 or above)
- those who are pregnant
Social distancing measures are steps you can take to reduce social interacitions between people, helping to minimise the transition of Coronavirus (COVID 19). These measures are:
- Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough;
- Avoid non-essential use of public transport, varying your travel times to avoid rush hour, when possible
- Work from home, where possible. Your employer should support you to do this. Please refer to employer guidance for more information
- Avoid large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars, clubs
- Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media.
- Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.
You can read the full guidance on social distancing here.
The World Health Organisation has issued a report on protecting your mental health during the outbreak. Some of their recommendations inlude:
- Avoid watching, reading or listening to news that could cause you to feel anxious or distressed.
- Seek information mainly to take practical steps to prepare your plans and protect yourself and loved ones.
- Seek information updates at specific times.
You can read the full Mental Health Advice here.
As government advice is updated, we will reassess and communicate as soon as possible.