Alun Cairns MP’s Coronavirus Bulletin
- Latest information as of 18:55 on 30/03/2020
We have, naturally, received a lot of calls to the office and emails raising concerns in relation to Coronavirus and looking for clarification on specific points relating to the latest measures. Many have presented positive recommendations on policy and initiatives.
This bulletin sets out the latest Government and community action and will aim to address the themes which have been raised by constituents.
Please note – Due to the extremely high number of emails we are receiving, we have to prioritise responding to the most critical of cases. We are trying to respond to each constituent individually, however, there will be a delay to our usual timeframes. Many people are raising similar issues, which you will find have been addressed in the briefing below.
NEW - Last week the Prime Minister used a historic televised broadcast to announced the difficult decision to introduce more restrictive measures to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
The Prime Minister has introduced more restrictive measures to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus. Everyone must abide by the Social Distancing orders – which means remaining at least 2 metres (6.5ft) away from others. You may only leave your home to shop for the vital necessities, for one form of exercise a day, for a medical need or to care for a vulnerable person or to travel to and from work only where it is absolutely necessary.
Stay at Home
You should only leave the house for one of four reasons:
- Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
- One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with direct members of your household.
- Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
- Travelling to and from work, but only where your work absolutely cannot be done from home – for example if you are a keyworker. – which means remaining at least 2 metres (6.5ft) away from others.
The following premises have been closed:
- Shops (apart from food stores and chemists)
- Leisure centres
Please note that this is in place for three weeks and will be under constant review. Premises serving food can continue with take-out services.
Should I still be working?
Following current UK Government guidelines, work must only continue where it is safe to do so, according to the Social Distancing order, or if your work is one of the identified vital services.
For work places to be considered safe, changes must be made to work practises in order to ensure health and safety whilst working. This means that you must remain at least 2 metres away from customers and colleagues at all times and consideration must be given to preventing contact with surroundings. Protecting yourself but also your customers, is paramount.
You can find guidance on Social Distancing on my website: https://www.aluncairns.com/guide-social-distancing
Self-Employed Income Support Scheme
The Chancellor this evening confirmed that the Government is acting to protect the self-employed during the Coronavirus pandemic. He has introduced the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme which will cover 95% of self-employed people and gives them the same support offered to other workers.
The Government will pay self-employed people a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last 3, up to the value of £2,500 per month.
The grant will be in place for up to three months and self-employed people will be able to claim for this grant whilst continuing to carry out business.
In short, the details of the Scheme are:
- The grant will pay up to 80% of average monthly profits over the last three years, up to the value of £2,500 per month.
- If you have only be trading for one or two years, the Government will look at the figures available. You do not need three years of records.
- It is open to anyone with trading profits up to £50,000.
- You must have a tax return for 2019 to apply.
- The majority of your income must come from self-employment.
- HMRC will contact those who are eligible.
- The Scheme will be available no later than the beginning of June.
- There is a delay to allow those who haven’t filed their tax return for 2018/19 an additional four weeks, from today, to do that.
Updated General Advice
The UK Foreign Office advises against all non-essential foreign travel for an initial period of 30 days.
The Prime Minister has set out new advice on how to best protect yourself and others, particularly the most vulnerable in society, from the risk of Coronavirus.
Everyone MUST STAY HOME and may only leave for the stated reasons.
Anyone with a high temperature or a persistent cough who lives alone is advised to self-isolate for seven days, as previously advised.
However, the latest advice dictates that households of more than one person are to stay isolated together for 14 days if one of them displays either of those symptoms. That means that, if possible, you should not go out, even to buy food or essentials, other than for exercise and in that case at a safe distance from others.
Members of the public are advised, where possible, to work from home.
You can find further details on Guidance from the Government website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults
For the latest information, please visit the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
Information about COVID-19
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What is coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a ‘type’ of virus. The coronavirus we are all affected by is called COVID-19, but you may also hear it called - coronavirus.
How serious is COVID-19?
The evidence shows us that the vast majority of people who get this virus have relatively mild symptoms and make a full recovery. But in a small percentage of cases, the virus can cause more severe symptoms. This is particularly true for people with a weakened immune system, for older people and for those with long term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.
What are the symptoms?
If you are infected you may have very minor symptoms, minor symptoms or more severe symptoms, but the NHS cites two symptoms to look out for as:
- A new continuous cough
- A fever or high temperature
What should I do if I have either of the above symptoms?
- Protect others - don't call NHS 111
- Protect others - don't call, or go to your GP
- Protect others - don't go to your local hospital
If you live alone - isolate yourself at home immediately for 7 days
If you live with others - you should all isolate yourselves at home for 14 days - this 14-day period starts from the day the first person in the home noticed the symptoms.
The evidence suggests - your staying at home for 14 days will significantly reduce the number of people in the community that will become infected with the virus.
For anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period.
If at-risk people share your home - such as those who are older and those with underlying health conditions - it is advisable for them to move out, perhaps to stay with friends or family for the whole isolation period. They need to minimise contact with others during this period whether or not they are able to move out.
For further information read this government advice on staying at home and isolating.
What should I do if self-isolation is difficult?
- You can't manage with your symptoms at home
- Your conditions get worse
- Your symptoms do not get better after 7 days
You should use the online 111 service or if you can't use the online service call 111
How can you avoid getting and spreading the virus?
Scientists think the virus spreads via droplets from coughs and sneezes and we know it spreads easily and can stay on surfaces for a while. It's possible that a lot of us will get it and be affected by it, but if you follow the advice below you will reduce your risk and the risk to others.
- Avoid non-essential contact with others - work from home if you can, avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and mass gatherings
- Wash your hands - with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds. Do this before leaving home and after returning home, before eating and drinking, and after coughing or sneezing
- Cover your mouth and nose - with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze - tissue in the bin and wash, or disinfect, your hands immediately
- Don't touch your face - especially your eyes, nose and mouth
- Clean surfaces - disinfect surfaces around you - especially mobiles, computers, keyboards, worktops, desks, handles...
- Stay at home for 7 (individual) or 14 (group) days - this means not going out at all - do this even if you think your symptoms are mild
- Ask for help - if you find it hard to stay at home - text, email, phone, friends, family, employers or your community to get help - but they mustn't come into your home
- Keep your distance - keep 2 metres (around 3 steps) away from others - including family - for the full period - do not go to your GP surgery or hospital
- Sleep alone - if you can sleep alone you must - it will help ensure people you live with aren't infected
- Keep washing your hands - often and for 20 seconds with soap and water helps
- Drink plenty of fluids - and take everyday pain killers like paracetamol if you need to
- Keep cleaning - so you keep surfaces clean
- Reduce contact with at risk people - people over 70, women who are pregnant and those with underlying health conditions are more at risk - help keep them safe.