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Social Distancing

Everyone has been urged to undertake ‘social distancing’, which means staying at least 2 metres away from other people in public places. Some pubs, cafes and restaurants – having been forced to close on Friday night 20 March – are now offering take-away services. Other shops and supermarkets are still open and we have all been urged to employ social distancing when queuing inside and outside such establishments. The same advice applies in all other settings (such as streets and recreational areas) too.

Children, most of who will now be on an extended period of non-attendance at the now-closed schools, should be told not to play/stay close to their friends in public areas and parents/carers should explain the dangers in not doing so. Children are likely to have immune systems that are stronger than older adults so they can unwittingly become carriers; even if they do not develop any symptoms, they may still infect adults in their households if they have acquired Covid-19 from their friends.

Vulnerable Groups

People over 70 years’ old and those with underlying health conditions have been urged to take extra care when mixing with others in, say, shops. Ideally, they should stay at home and not mix with others at all – although for people who live alone and do not have a support network this can be difficult. Encouragingly, many local neighbour networks are emerging spontaneously, and we should all see if we can offer help to vulnerable neighbours and family members who live away from us. For maximum bio-security, please avoid direct contact with vulnerable people; for instance, if we are getting shopping for them it is safer to leave the bags on their doorstep and knock/ring the doorbell to advise them of the delivery, rather than wait for them to open the door and have a close-contact chat.

On Sunday 22 March the Government announced that for the 1.5 million people who are most at risk due to very serious medical conditions a new service will become available during w/c 23 March. From Tuesday 24 March all such people will receive a letter from their GP or other NHS source telling them how to trigger this service, which will include home delivery of food/household goods boxes (the initial boxes will be generic and free) and prescription medication. As the scheme develops, people will be able to be specific about personal preferences. They will also be advised to completely self-isolate for at least 12 weeks.

From Monday 23 March larger supermarkets will introduce special opening hours for Vulnerable Groups and, separately, healthcare workers. Please check the supermarkets’ national websites and follow the advice given, possibly clicking through to local stores as opening times are likely to be different across different geographical locations.

Other Health Advice

We have all been advised not to visit friends and relatives for the foreseeable future in order to help stop the unwitting spread of the virus.

As we are all being bombarded with advice (sometimes incorrect from well-meaning but ill-informed friends) we strongly advise everyone to check the official public advice websites daily:

NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Public Health England: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/public-health-england