Coronavirus

The latest medical advice on COVID-19 can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

The up to date Government guidance, including travel advice and guidance on self isolation can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

The information below will be updated on a daily basis in line with the latest Government guidance.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. The approach of the government, supported by opposition parties, is guided by the Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Officer, Sir Patrick Vallance; their task is not easy, but as your local MP, I am 100% supportive. 

The UK's response is not reactionary, it is based on clinical, scientific and medical evidence. This section of the website sets out both the health advice and other efforts to help support businesses and our public services.

I am conscious that this is a concerning time for individuals and businesses.

I would like to reassure you that the Government’s response to the developing situation is based on the advice of scientists who are experts in their fields and will be involved in the daily televised updates from Downing Street. This is an unexpected challenge which we need to tackle as a country, and it is important to follow the latest Government advice in the interests of protecting everyone’s health.

The most up to date Government advice on coronavirus, including guidance on social distancing and self-isolation is available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus and the latest health guidance from the NHS can be found at www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19. Whilst my team will provide as much support as possible, please use this guidance as a first port of call.

The Government is also determined to support individuals and businesses facing financial challenges in the context of the coronavirus epidemic. The most up date information for businesses can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19 – some business support mechanisms are also being operated by the local authority.

Advice on how individuals who are unable to work can access financial support through the benefits can be found at https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus/.

If you are unable to find the information you need using the resources above, my constituency team can be contacted on 01642 030195 , but please be mindful that the current situation means that they are dealing with a significant volume of casework.

The UK is facing a serious pandemic. We should not down play this illness.

The government has issued the following guidance, which you should follow: 

  • If you have symptoms of Coronavirus, however mild, you should stay at home and not leave your house for seven days from when symptoms started. Do not go to a GP, pharmacy or hospital. This will help protect others in your community. 
  • Stay at least two meters (approx. 3 steps) away from others in your home and sleep alone if possible. 
  • Ask your employer, friends and family to help you get the things you need to stay at home. 
  • Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, each time using soap and water. 
  • Stay away from vulnerable individuals, such as the elderly, and those with underlying health conditions.

You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If symptoms worsen or are no better after 7 days, you should contact NHS 111 online, by clicking here. If you have no internet access, call NHS 111. Contacting them online will help to free up call centres for those without internet access. Of course, in an emergency, dial 999. 

There are precautions that we can all take to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often and for at least 20 seconds.
  • Always wash your hands when you get home or go into work.
  • Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sleeve.
  • Put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.

It is also now advised that everyone takes sensible social distancing measures - you can find details on how this should be approached at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people - this is especially important for people over the age of 70, pregnant women and those with underlying medical conditions.

As your local MP, I am here to support our health services, individuals and businesses in any way I can who are affected by coronavirus. However, please understand that I have limited staff, and they are working flat out to help in whatever way they can. 

As the situation progresses, I will keep you updated. We will get through this. No matter how tough things feel now, Britain has got through many tough experiences before. Please remember, self-isolate if you need to, and continue to wash your hands.

COVID-19 CORONOVIRUS - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: My business is struggling due to the disruption/ fall in customer numbers/ staff illness caused by COVID-19, how do I access the small business grant scheme/ business loan scheme/ SSP rebate announced in the budget?

All businesses eligible for small business rates belief will be able to apply for the £3000 small business support grant, which will be administered by local authorities.

Details of this process are being confirmed as rapidly as possible. Details on the process for applying for support loans and reclaiming Statutory Sick Pay for employees self-isolating will be made available as soon as possible on the gov.uk website.

Up to date Government advice for businesses can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

 

Q: I am self-employed/ on a zero hours contract… and am not entitled to SSP, what support is available whilst I am self-isolating?

Measures have been enacted to ensure that those not eligible for SSP will be able to access the benefits system. Advice for those who need to claim due to the coronavirus outbreak can be found at https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus/

 

Q: How long do I need to self-isolate for if I have coronavirus symptoms? What does self-isolating entail?

If you live alone you will need to self-isolate for 7 days from the onset of symptoms. If you live with others, the whole household is required to self-isolate for 14 days to allow for the incubation period of the virus. All individuals who get symptoms need to self-isolate for 7 days from the onset of symptoms, regardless of the household period.

The latest guidance on self-isolation can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

 

Q: I am employed full time and have decided I need to self-isolate as I have a persistent cough but my employer says I won’t be paid if I don’t come into work. What should I do?

If you are ill, you should take time off work in line with the Government guidance. If you are entitled to SSP, this will now be paid from Day 1 for individuals needing to self-isolate. You do not require a sick note for the first 7 days of sickness absence under any circumstances. The Government is providing employers with support for paying SSP and urging all employers to respect the judgement of employees who need to self-isolate on the basis of current guidance.

 

Q: I am in receipt of Universal Credit/ PIP… I have a cough/temperature, do I still need to attend my Jobcentre appointment?

The Department for Work and Pensions have suspended face-to-face appointments for health and disability benefits from 17th March. Jobcentre staff are able to support over the phone and online.

 

Q: Why is there no toilet roll or hand gel in the shops? Is the Government doing enough to make sure we don’t run out of food?

The Government, supermarkets and suppliers are working together to ensure that everyone is able to get the supplies they need. There are currently no significant supply chain disruptions. Gaps on shop shelves are a result of people changing their buying patterns in response to the COVID-19 outbreak: retailers are working to replenish stocks and if everybody shops sensibly everyone will be able to get the supplies they need.

 

Q: Why hasn’t the Government taken more drastic action to stop coronavirus spreading? How come schools are still open when lots of countries have onto lockdown?

Coronavirus is likely to present a challenge to the UK over a significant period of time. Measures in place have been put in place on the basis of expert scientific advice and are designed to ensure that the situation is sustainable and everyone has access to the support and essentials they need.

Schools currently remain open on the basis of expert scientific advice. If schools close at the wrong point, the requirement for childcare may actually increase the risk to vulnerable groups. School closures may be necessary at a later date if scientific advice suggests that this would be beneficial to tackling the coronavirus outbreak.

 

Q: What is the Government doing to ensure that the NHS has enough beds available to treat people who are badly affected by coronavirus?

The Chancellor announced in the Budget that the NHS will have access to all of the funds required to tackle the outbreak.

Extensive plans are in place to ensure central government, local authorities, the NHS and other agencies work together effectively to tackle the outbreak. You can read about the Coronavirus action plan at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-action-plan/coronavirus-action-plan-a-guide-to-what-you-can-expect-across-the-uk

 

Q: I have coronavirus symptoms; how come I can’t get tested?

Testing for coronavirus is not necessary if you are self-isolating at home. The NHS is conducting extensive testing but the best way to limit the spread of the virus is to self-isolate if your symptoms can be managed at home. Additional guidance from the NHS on self-isolation and whether you should contact NHS 111 is available at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/

 

Q: Where can I get up to date information about the best way to stay safe from the virus?

The latest Government guidance on social distancing and protecting vulnerable people can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people

It is important to wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and avoid touching your face if your hands are not clean.

 

Q: I am fit and healthy and not in a risk group. How can I volunteer to help support people who need to self-isolate?

You can sign up to join the British Red Cross Reserves at reserves.redcross.org.uk/ 

 

Q: I am over 70 but I’m fit and healthy with no underlying conditions, why do I need to restrict my activities?

People over the age of 70 are at greater risk of severe illness or complications if they are infected with coronavirus. It is therefore especially important to follow social distancing guidelines if you are in this age category. Everyone, regardless of age or health is being asked to follow social distancing guidelines.

 

Q: My husband has a cough and a fever so is self-isolating. Do my children and I need to self-isolate too?

Yes, if anyone in your household experiences coronavirus symptoms, the whole household should self-isolate for 14 days.

All individuals who get symptoms need to self-isolate for 7 days from the onset of symptoms, regardless of the household period.

The latest guidance on self-isolation can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection