As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds we find ourselves in a fast-moving scenario and I understand that members of the public are concerned on a number of levels. It is clear that the virus will be with us for some time, but I would like to offer my reassurance that as your Member of Parliament I am working alongside my ministerial colleagues and others who are dedicated to ensuring that the public is protected.
As with any major incident, there are many people offering contrasting opinions and advice, across all kinds of mainstream and social media platforms. I would strongly advise that the best sources of information are the official government and NHS websites and broadcasts.
As ever my team and I are here to help in any way we can, however, please remember that we are not able to offer medical advice. If you have any concerns about your own health or symptoms you should call 111.
What is Coronavirus / COVID-19?
A coronavirus is a type of virus. As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world. COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China in January 2020. The incubation period of COVID-19 is between 2 to 14 days. This means that if a person remains well 14 days after contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus, they have not been infected.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The following symptoms may develop in the 14 days after exposure to someone who has COVID-19 infection:
- difficulty in breathing
Generally, these infections can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.
How can I find out what is happening?
The Prime Minister is now making daily updates in relation to what actions are being taken including when and why.
What can I do to reduce my risk of catching/spreading the COVID-19 virus?
Hand-washing and restricting unnecessary physical contact remain the most proactive way to stop the spread of COVID-19 and you are advised to observe these simple measures on a day-to-day basis.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.
- Put used tissues in the bin straight away.
- Wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
- Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
What is the best way to wash my hands?
Guidance on how to wash your hands is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/866065/Handwashing_techniques.pdf
Should I wear a face mask?
It is not recommended to wear facemasks (also known as surgical masks or respirators) to protect against the virus. Facemasks are only recommended to be worn by symptomatic individuals (advised by a healthcare worker) to reduce the risk of transmitting the infection to other people. Public Health England (PHE) recommends that the best way to reduce any risk of infection is good hygiene and avoiding direct or close contact (closer than 2 metres) with any potentially infected person.
Where can I get more information about self-isolation?
Further guidance and information about self-isolation is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public
I have concerns about my health or symptoms, what should I do?
If you have any concerns about your own health or symptoms you should call 111 and seek further advice.
What support is available for employees and the self-employed?
- Staying at Home
- Working from home
- Sick pay
- The self-employed
What support is available for businesses?
The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.
More information about what support is available can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses
Where can I get more information?
- The official government website: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response
- The NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/
- The 10 Downing Street Website: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/prime-ministers-office-10-downing-street