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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Updated - 18 May - 1pm

Read the Government's latest coronavirus guidance on the Gov.uk website.

Stay at home unless necessary

It is still very important that people stay home unless necessary to go out for specific reasons set out in law. These include:

  • For work, where you cannot work from home
  • Going to shops that are permitted to be open – to get things like food and medicine, and to collect goods ordered online or on the phone
  • To exercise or spend time outdoors for recreation 
  • Any medical need, to donate blood, avoid injury or illness, escape risk of harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person 

If you are not sure about what you can and can’t do, read the Government’s frequently asked questions on the Gov.uk website.

New measures

The measures set out will be kept under constant review, and formally revisited at the end of May. They will be relaxed if the scientific evidence shows that this is possible.

If people begin to act recklessly, which could impact on the transmission of coronavirus in our communities, further restrictions will have to be implemented again.

Covid-19 in Wokingham Borough

Our public health team have pulled together all the local information for Wokingham Borough on COVID-19.

All the details can be found in the COVID-19 Situation Report (pdf document).

Business advice

Council services

Community support

You must stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms - check visit the NHS website for the latest advice. The symptoms are:

  • A high temperature
  • A new continuous cough
  • A loss/change in your normal sense of smell or taste

The advice is currently:

  • If you have symptoms, stay at home for 7 days and your temperature returns to normal
  • If you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms
  

This will help to protect others in your community while you are infectious. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

You do not need to contact NHS on 111 to tell them you’re staying at home. The Government will not be testing people who are self-isolating with mild symptoms.

The government has set out its plan:

  • People and employers should stay safe in public spaces and workplaces by following “COVID-19 secure” guidelines. This should enable more people to go back to work, where they cannot work from home, and encourage more vulnerable children and the children of critical workers to go to school or childcare as already permitted
  • You should stay safe when you leave home: washing your hands regularly, maintaining social distancing, and ensuring you do not gather in groups of more than two, except with members of your household or for other specific exceptions set out in law
  • You must continue to stay home except for a limited set of reasons but - in line with scientific advice - can take part in more outdoor activities 

Controlling the spread

The government has set out a roadmap for lifting further restrictions and opening more businesses and venues, but this plan is dependent on successfully controlling the spread of the virus. 

If the evidence shows sufficient progress is not being made in controlling the virus, then the lifting of restrictions may have to be delayed.

If, after lifting restrictions, the government sees a concerning rise in the infection rate, then it may have to re-impose some restrictions in as targeted a way as possible.

Further guidance

Full details of the Governments safe social distancing guidance can be found on its website, this includes advice on:

  • Protecting different groups of people
  • Staying at home
  • Businesses and venues
  • Visiting public places
  • Public gatherings
  • Going to work
  • Enforcing the law
  • Clinically vulnerable people
  • Communicating with the public

This guidance is intended for:

  • people with symptoms that may be caused by coronavirus, and do not require hospital treatment, who must remain at home until they are well
  • those living in households with someone who shows symptoms that may be caused by coronavirus    


The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:  

  • new continuous cough and/or
  • high temperature

For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.

Key messages from UK Government

       
  • if you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started and until your temperature returns to normal
  • if you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must stay at home for 7 days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill
  • for anyone else in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared and until their temperature returns to normal, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period.
  • it is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community
  • if you can, move any vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period
  • if you cannot move vulnerable people out of your home, stay away from them as much as possible
  • if you have coronavirus symptoms do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you’re staying at home
  • testing for coronavirus is not needed if you’re staying at home
  • plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home and consider what can be done for vulnerable people in the household
  • ask your employer, friends and family to help you to get the things you need to stay at home
  • wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser
  • if you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after 7 days, then use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service. If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

Ending isolation

Self-isolation

If you have been symptomatic, then you may end your self-isolation after 7 days, as long as your temperature has returned to normal. The 7-day period starts from the day when you first became ill.

Household isolation

If living with others, then all household members who remain well may end household-isolation after 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day illness began in the first person to become ill. Fourteen days is the incubation period for coronavirus; people who remain well after 14 days are unlikely to be infectious.

After 7 days, if the first person to become ill feels better and no longer has a high temperature, they can return to their normal routine.

If any other family members become unwell during the 14-day household-isolation period, they should follow the same advice - that is, after 7 days of their symptoms starting, if they feel better and no longer have a high temperature, they can also return to their normal routine.

Should a household member develop coronavirus symptoms late in the 14-day household-isolation period (for example, on day 13 or day 14) the isolation period does not need to be extended, but the person with the new symptoms has to stay at home for 7 days.

The 14-day household-isolation period will have greatly reduced the overall amount of infection the rest of the household could pass on, and it is not necessary to restart 14 days of isolation for the whole household. This will have provided a high level of community protection.

Further isolation of members of this household will provide very little additional community protection.

At the end of the 14-day period, any family member who has not become unwell can leave household isolation.

If any ill person in the household has not had any signs of improvement and have not already sought medical advice, they should contact NHS 111 online. If your home has no internet access, you should call NHS 111.

The cough may persist for several weeks in some people, despite the coronavirus infection having cleared. A persistent cough alone does not mean someone must continue to self-isolate for more than 7 days.

Further information

For more information on self-isolation, visit the UK Government website. This also includes the guidance in the following languages:

  • Arabic
  • Bengali
  • Traditional Chinese – Cantonese
  • Simplified Chinese – Mandarin
  • French
  • Gujarati
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Punjadi
  • Urdu
  • Welsh

Further measures should be put in place for those who are vulnerable, see the UK Government website for advice on how to protect extremely vulnerable people (shielding).

There are general principles you can follow to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Washing your hands more often - with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitiser when you get home or into work, when you blow your nose, sneeze or cough, eat or handle food
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who have symptoms
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin and wash your hands
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home

Watch the video on hand washing from  the NHS:

It is your responsibility to adopt these principles wherever possible.

The government is also using these principles as the basis of discussions with key stakeholders, to agree how the principles should apply in different settings to make them safer.

All of us, as customers, visitors, employees or employers need to make changes to lower the risk of transmission of the virus.

Keep your distance from people outside your household

  • Whilst recognising this will not always be possible, it is important to be aware that the risk of infection increases the closer you are to another person with the virus, and the amount of time you spend in close contact with them.
  • Therefore, you are unlikely to be infected if you walk past another person in the street.
  • Public Health England recommends trying to keep two metres away from people as a precaution.
  • However, this is not a rule and the science is complex. The key thing is to not be too close to people for more than a short period of time, as much as you can.
     

Keep your hands and face as clean as possible

  • Wash your hands often using soap and water, and dry them thoroughly.
  • Where available, use sanitiser outside your home, especially as you enter a building and after you have had contact with surfaces.
  • Avoid touching your face.
    

Work from home if you can

  • With the proper equipment and adjustments, many people can do most or all of their work from home. Your employer should support you to find reasonable adjustments to do this.
  • However, not all jobs can be done from home.
  • If your workplace is open and you cannot work from home, you can travel to work.
   

Avoid being face-to-face with people if they are outside your household

  • You are at higher risk of being directly exposed to respiratory droplets (released by talking or coughing) when you are within two metres of someone and have face-to-face contact with them.
  • You can lower the risk of infection if you stay side-to-side rather than facing someone.
  

Reduce the number of people you spend time with in a work setting

You can lower the risks of transmission in the workplace by reducing the number of people you come into contact with regularly, where you can. Your employer can support with this (where practical) by:

  • changing shift patterns and rotas to match you with the same team each time
  • splitting people into smaller, contained teams

Avoid crowds

  • You can lower the risks of transmission by reducing the number of people you come into close contact with. For example, avoid peak travel times on public transport, where possible.
  • Businesses should also take reasonable steps to avoid people being gathered together. For example, by allowing the use of more entrances and exits, and staggering entrance and exit, where possible.

If you have to travel (for example, to work or school), think about how and when you travel

  • To reduce demand on the public transport network, you should walk or cycle wherever possible. If you have to use public transport, you should try to avoid peak times.
  • Employers should consider staggering working hours, expanding bicycle storage facilities, providing changing facilities and providing car parking.

Wash your clothes regularly

  • There is some evidence that the virus can stay on fabrics for a few days, although usually it is shorter.
  • Therefore, if you are working with people outside your household, wash your clothes regularly.
  • Changing clothes in workplaces should only be considered where there is a high risk of infection or there are highly vulnerable people, such as in a care home.
  • If you need to change your clothes, avoid crowding into a changing room.

Keep indoor places well ventilated

  • Evidence suggests that the virus is less likely to be passed on in well-ventilated buildings and outdoors.
  • In good weather, try to leave windows and doors open in areas where people from different households come into contact, or move activity outdoors if you can.
  • Use external extractor fans to keep spaces well ventilated and make sure that ventilation systems are set to maximise the air flow rate.
  • Heating and cooling systems can be used at their normal temperature settings.

When at work, follow the advice given to you by your employer

Employers have a duty to assess and manage risks to your safety in the workplace. The government has issued guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus. This includes guidance on how to make adjustments to your workplace to help you maintain social distancing.

It also includes guidance on hygiene, as evidence suggests that the virus can exist for up to 72 hours on surfaces. Therefore, frequent cleaning is particularly important for communal surfaces like:

  • door handles
  • lift buttons
  • communal areas like bathrooms
  • kitchens
  • tea points

For more information on staying safe outside your home, visit the UK Government website.

The most recent scientific advice on how to further limit the spread of COVID-19 is clear. From Monday 23 March, if children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading.

The government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.

Schools are being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children - children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.

Vulnerable children

This includes children: 

  • Who are supported by social care
  • Those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans.

We know that schools will also want to support other children facing social difficulties and we will support head teachers to do so.

Key workers

Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors outlined below. Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. And every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.

Please, therefore, follow these key principles:

  1. If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
  2. If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
  3. Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
  4. Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.
  5. Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings continue to care for children wherever possible.

If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed below, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision.

Health and social care

This includes but is not limited to: 

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Midwives
  • Paramedics
  • Social workers
  • Care workers

Other front line health and social care staff including: 

  • Volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; 
  • Those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributors of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.

Education and childcare

This includes: 

  • Nursery and teaching staff
  • Social workers
  • Specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach

Key public services

This includes those essential to: 

  • The running of the justice system
  • Religious staff
  • Charities and workers delivering key front line services
  • Those responsible for the management of the deceased
  • Journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting

Local and national government

This only includes: 

  • Those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response; or 
  • Delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies

Food and other necessary goods

This includes: 

  • Those involved in food production
  • Processing
  • Distribution
  • Sale
  • Delivery
  • Those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines)

Public safety and national security

This includes: 

  • Police and support staff
  • Ministry of Defence civilians
  • Contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic)
  • Fire and rescue service employees (including support staff)
  • National Crime Agency staff
  • Those maintaining border security
  • Prison and probation staff
  • Other national security roles, including those overseas

Transport

This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.

Utilities, communication and financial services

This includes: 

  • Staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.

If workers think they fall within the critical categories above they should confirm with their employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service.

If you have any of the following health conditions, you are clinically vulnerable, meaning you are at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. 

You are advised to stay at home as much as possible and, if you do go out, take particular care to minimise contact with others outside your household.

Clinically vulnerable people are those who are:

  • aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
  • under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (that is, anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds):
  • chronic (long-term) mild to moderate 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), or cerebral palsy
  • diabetes
  • a weakened immune system as the result of certain conditions, treatments like chemotherapy, or medicines such as steroid tablets
  • being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
  • pregnant women

As above, there is a further category of people with serious underlying health conditions who are clinically extremely vulnerable, meaning they are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus. 

You, your family and carers should be aware of the guidance on shielding which provides information on how to protect yourself still further should you wish to.

There is additional advice for those who are extremely, clinically vulnerable. Visit the UK Government website for more information. 

If you need help, visit out our Community support for coronavirus (COVID-19) webpages.

We are aware that this is a difficult and stressful situation for everyone – but particularly so for adults and children living with domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is more than physical violence. It can also include, but is not limited to: coercive control, verbal abuse, emotional abuse and sexual abuse.

Where to get help

If you believe you are being abused, or worried you may commit domestic abuse, please use the following services which can help you.

If you are in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police - the police will continue to respond to emergency calls
If you are in danger and unable to talk on the phone, call 999 and then press 55. This will transfer your call to the relevant police force who will assist you without you having to speak.

If you suspect that your neighbours or those in your community are victims of domestic abuse, we encourage you to report it to the police.

Other support numbers and websites:    

  • Call Berkshire Women's Aid on 0118 950 4003. This number operates 24 hours a day. You can also email helpline@bwaid.org.uk 
  • Freephone the 24 hour National Domestic Abuse helpline on 0800 2000 247 or visit the National Domestic Abuse website
  • Call Men's Advice Line on 0808 801 0327 or visit the Men's Advice Line website 
  • Call the Respect helpline on 0808 802 4040 (for anyone worried that they may be harming someone else) or visit the Respect website 
  • Call Galop on 0800 999 5428 (national helpline for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people experiencing domestic abuse) or visit the Galop website

Thank you to everyone who has helped us to source over 300,000 items of PPE so far.

Our frontline workers still need more vital protective equipment – and we are appealing to anybody who can help. 

We are appealing to any business that has this equipment or can supply it, to contact us.

The most urgent need is for face masks, but the full list of essential items is:

  • Surgical masks IIR (fluid resistant)
  • FFP3 Mask
  • FFP2 Mask
  • Coveralls / Gowns (disposable)
  • Aprons (disposable)
  • Gloves (disposable)
  • Goggles
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Clinical Waste Bags
  • Wipes (Pack)
      

Anybody, business or organisation that can help should contact ppe.appeal@wokingham.gov.uk

Mental health support

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