25th March 2020
Yesterday, the Government launched NHS Volunteers Responders, a new scheme seeking 250,000 volunteers to help the NHS with medicine delivery, supply shopping and supporting vulnerable isolated people.
You can become an NHS Volunteer Responder and join the NHS’s list of volunteers by visiting https://www.goodsamapp.org/nhs and adding your details to the NHS section, where you can also find more information about the scheme. The Government is urging people who can to register today, support our NHS and help people shielding at home. Volunteers need to be 18 or over, and fit and well with no symptoms. Those in higher-risk groups (including those over 70, those who are pregnant or with underlying medical conditions) will be able to offer support by telephone. Patient transport drivers will require an enhanced DBS check and will receive guidance to do this role safely.
From now on, you may only leave your home for the following purposes:
- To shop for basic necessities (food, medicine) as infrequently as possible and only where this can't be done online.
- For one form of exercise once per day - for example a walk or run. You should do this alone, or with a member of your household.
- For medical reasons, i.e. to provide care or help a vulnerable person.
- To travel to and from work, only if it is impossible for you to work from home.
The above are the only reasons that you should leave your home - to ensure that this is the case, the Government is taking steps including closing all shops selling non-essential goods, closing libraries, playgrounds and places of worship, dispersing all gatherings of more than two people in public, and stopping all social events including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies. These measures will be reviewed after 3 weeks, and will remain in place for as long as necessary to help us protect our NHS and vulnerable people from the effects of coronavirus.
If you or a member of your household develop the symptoms of coronavirus (a new persistent dry cough OR a temperature above 100F/ 37.8C) then you and every member of your household should remain at home at all times for 14 days. This means you cannot leave home to shop or exercise, and should arrange to have supplies delivered to your door.
23rd March 2020
Approximately 1.5 million people in the UK are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus. Over the next few days, these people will be contacted by the NHS (via letter and/ or text message) and advised to remain at home and avoid any face-to-face contact whatsoever for a minimum period of 12 weeks, in order to shield them from the effects of the virus. This means that you should not go out other than for maximum once a day for exercise, food, essentials such as medicine, and in that case at a safe distance from others.
A full list of those being contacted, and an explanation of the measures they will be expected to take, is available here.
NHS Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
The Government is coordinating deliveries of PPE to all frontline medical staff, in hospitals, pharmacists, GP practices, care homes and hospices. Millions of new face masks and other protective items are being supplied across the UK, with distribution being assisted by members of the armed forces.
It remains the case that all individuals should heed Government advice to practice social distancing in order to reduce the spread of coronavirus. Necessary measures are as follows:
- Avoid contact with anyone who displays symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough.
- Avoid non-essential use of public transport.
- Work from home.
- Avoid large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces.
- 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.
The information above applies to everyone, and is particularly important for those over 70, pregnant women, and individuals in poor health. Such measures are likely to be disruptive and frustrating to some extent, but it is absolutely crucial that Government advice is followed with regard to COVID-19. Combating and controlling this virus will require a huge national effort. We must do all we can to protect our NHS, and save the lives of those most at risk.
This means that you should not go out (not even for food and essentials) other than for exercise and in that case at a safe distance from others. If possible, you should ask for help from others for your daily necessities, or make use of delivery services. If you absolutely must leave the house to purchase supplies, you should do what you can to limit your social contact.