This morning a further 32 patients in England had tested positive for Covid-19. Twenty nine of those patients had recently travelled from affected countries or from recognised clusters under investigation. Three are still unclear but the NHS continues to investigate. The total number of confirmed cases is now 80 in England. A further small number of cases in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland brings the total number for the United Kingdom to 85 patients.
It sounds incredibly simple but the single most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves is to wash their hands regularly. Wash them for at least 20 seconds with soap and hot water, sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice in your head as you do it and you will reach the 20 seconds. I know many of you will be heading to the shops to buy antibacterial gels and supplies, do not worry if you cannot do this – washing your hands regularly is the best advice.
“Keeping the country safe is this Government’s overriding priority and the action plan released this week does everything possible to prepare for any eventuality. It is based on and backed by the world’s leading infectious disease experts and thus far we have invested over £40 million in research to find a vaccine.
“Please keep an eye on official channels such as the NHS and GOV websites. Do use the 111 Coronavirus service if required, do not visit your GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
“Again, the easiest and most effective way you can help fight this virus is to wash your hands with soap and hot water for the length of time it takes to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice. And do encourage family and friends to do the same.”
Quick fire information:
Benefit claimants - Don't worry if you cannot attend your jobcentre appointment because of self-isolation or ill health. You will NOT be sanctioned but you do need to contact your work coach by phone or online using your universal credit journal.
Employees: Self-isolating people will get Statutory Sick Pay from their first day off work. (£94.25 pw for up to 28 weeks) The legislation to put this forward is being rushed through Parliament. The Prime Minister is looking to confirm details for people who do not ordinarily qualify for Sick Pay because they earn less than £118 a week.
Running a business; If you want to seek support in relation to best hygiene practices. Call your local authority and ask for the public health team. For Tamworth based businesses call 01827 709 709 for Lichfield based businesses call 01543 308 000.
Should I cancel my travel plans? Travel advice varies depending on destination (as always) you can find the latest details at: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice all travel agents, airways, hoteliers and insurers are aware of the spread of the virus and are doing all they can to re-schedule, cancel and amend trips with minimal disruption.
You can read more about the coronavirus action plan here:
The United Kingdom continues to be in the 'contain' phase, the NHS are working hard to detect early cases, follow up on close contacts and prevent the virus taking hold in this country for as long as reasonably possible.
Every person has a role to play in helping to manage the spread of the virus, so please be conscious of your hand and respiratory hygiene, let businesses know if their tissues and soap need re-stocking, take steps to seek advice before any community spread and please do not worry if you see empty shelves in the supermarket. The Government is doing all it can to ensure everybody can access the help, support and goods they need, when they need them.