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CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

As you will be aware the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is an evolving situation. We are monitoring the situation carefully and are putting contingency plans in place to ensure, as far as possible, that we can continue to provide you with uninterrupted service delivery. We are also following the Government’s Coronavirus action plan, which is guided by scientific advice and data emerging, as well as the guidance from Public Health England.

Advice for Employees and Employers:

Stop the spread of misinformation by relying on information from trusted sources:

The following facts have been published in the UK Government’s Coronavirus action plan

  • Based on current evidence, the main symptoms of COVID-19 are a cough, a high temperature and, in severe cases, shortness of breath. 
  • As this is a new virus, the lack of immunity in the population (and the absence as yet of an effective vaccine) means that COVID-19 has the potential to spread extensively. 
  • The current data seem to show that we are all susceptible to catching this disease, and thus it also more likely than not that the UK will be significantly affected. Among those who become infected, some will exhibit no symptoms.
  • Early data suggest that of those who develop an illness, the great majority will have a mild-to-moderate, but self-limiting illness – similar to seasonal flu.
  • It is, however, also clear that a minority of people who get COVID-19 will develop complications severe enough to require hospital care, most often pneumonia.
  • In a small proportion of these, the illness may be severe enough to lead to death. So far the data we have suggest that the risk of severe disease and death increases amongst elderly people and in people with underlying health risk conditions (in the same way as for seasonal flu. Illness is less common and usually less severe in younger adults. Children can be infected and can have a severe illness, but based on current data overall illness seems rarer in people under 20 years of age.
  • So far, there has been no obvious sign that pregnant women are more likely to be seriously affected.

The advice for anyone in any setting is to follow these main guidelines.

  1. If you have been in contact with someone with coronavirus or have returned from an affected area identified by the Chief Medical Officer as high risk and you are feeling unwell with a cough, difficulty breathing or fever, stay at home and use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service or call NHS 111. Affected areas can be found on this link:https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-specified-countries-and-areas
  2. Wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds using soap and hot water, particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose, or after being in public areas where other people are doing so. Use alcohol based hand sanitiser if that’s all you have access to.
  3. To reduce the spread of germs when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or your sleeve (not your hands) if you don’t have a tissue, and throw the tissue away immediately. Then wash your hands or use a hand sanitising gel.  
  4. Clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces using your regular cleaning products to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people.

Further information:

The following NHS website provides further useful information: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

We will continue to monitor the situation and update you on our action plans depending on the course of the outbreak.

Bernie Taylor

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