Covid-19

Coronavirus: Protect yourself and others
  • This will be updated regularly with the latest information regarding COVID-19
  • If you think you may be infected or are at risk of infection use this tool
  • Page last updated 14:11 on 29/03/20

BELOW:

  • Latest updates and advice on Covid-19 (Coronavirus)
  • Comment from Derek

As of 9am on 29 March 2020, a total of 127,737 people have been tested, of which 108,215 were confirmed negative and 19,522 were confirmed positive, with Halton having 16 confirmed cases.

As of 5pm on 28 March 2020, 1,228 patients in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) have died.

If you live alone, stay at home for 7 days if you have either:

a high temperature

a new continuous cough

Or if you live with others and you or someone in your household has the above symptoms stay at home for 14 days.

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

As we move forward, good hygiene practices will become more important to push back a potential large-scale outbreak to the summer months when the NHS is under less pressure. This means we all need to take care to wash our hands properly and use tissues if you have a cough or cold.

This will give medical professionals the chance to conduct more research into the origins of the virus and come up with solutions to mitigate its impact – such as developing a vaccine to protect the most vulnerable.

Currently, advice is to self-isolate if you have returned from an area of high-risk OR if you have a cough, shortness of breath or a fever OR someone in your household has those symptoms. If you think you may have been infected with the virus, DO NOT go to your GP or A&E, but use this website tool or call 111 if you do not have access to the internet.

It is incredibly important to take this virus seriously but not to panic – there is no need to go and clear out the local supermarkets. If everyone takes basic steps like practising good hygiene, we will all be better off for it. Try to follow these guidelines:

* Wash your hands regularly with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds

* Catch coughs and sneezes with a tissue, bin the tissue, wash your hands

* Wipe down your phone/keyboard with an antibacterial wipe every so often

* Always wash your hands when you get home or into work

* Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available

* Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell

* Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth

* It is important to remember that wearing a surgical mask is not a substitute for good hygiene – most surgical masks become ineffective when damp.

Everyone should avoid gatherings and crowded places

Schools, nurseries, colleges and all childcare settings are closed, apart from to key worker’s children and vulnerable children. This is only if the children cannot be safely looked after at home.

Pubs, clubs, theatres, cinemas, leisure centres, gyms, restaurants and cafes have been closed.

Everyone in the UK should avoid “non-essential” travel and contact with others

People who can work at home should work from home

Stay at home You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms. You should only leave the house for very limited purposes:

1) Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.

2) One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household.

3) Any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.

4) Travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home.

Staying at home and away from others (social distancing) Guidance

Those with the most serious health conditions must be “largely shielded from social contact for around 12 weeks”. Pregnant women, people over the age of 70 and those with certain health conditions should consider the advice “particularly important”. People in at-risk groups have been asked to stay home for 12 weeks.

Register if you have a medical condition that makes you extremely vulnerable to coronavirus. For example, you’ll be able to ask for help getting deliveries of essential supplies like food.

If you’re not sure whether your medical condition makes you extremely vulnerable, register anyway. Register here

The government has announced that Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will be available from day 1 if you are asked to self-isolate. Previously sick pay was not available until day 4 of an illness. Derek has welcomed this and it will come as some re-assurance to employees earning more than £118 per week. You can get £94.25 per week Statutory Sick Pay, paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks. You may get more than this if your company has a sick pay scheme (or ‘occupational scheme’) and you should check your employment contract. Sick notifications will be obtainable by calling 111, which you can use as evidence for absence from work.

For those who are not eligible for SSP, either because they are self-employed or below the Lower Earnings Limit, Universal Credit (UC) will be available for people affected by COVID-19 from the first day of sickness, rather than after 7 days. Requirements to attend a job centre to claim UC will be relaxed and advance payments made available for people directly affected by COVID-19, or who are self-isolating.

Additionally, the minimum income floor for UC will be temporarily relaxed for those directly affected by COVID-19 or who are self-isolating due to government advice for the duration of the outbreak.

How to Claim Universal Credit

You can find details on how to claim Universal Credit here

To see the up to date government guidance for employees please visit this page
To see the up to date guidance on government support for the self employed please visit this page
To see the up to date guidance on government support for businesses please visit this page

If you want to help the most vulnerable across Widnes, Runcorn & Hale Village, there are a variety of opportunities you can register to help for with Halton and St Helens Voluntary and Community Action.

You may be able to deliver much needed supplies to the vulnerable and self-isolating; provide telephone support; share information and updates, and many other tasks.

You can register online or call them on 01744 457100, visit their website

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised against all non-essential international travel, initially for a period of 30 days. This advice takes effect immediately (17/3/20). The FCO’s website is here
Advice from the Association of British Insurers on issues you may be facing due to Covid-19 can be found here.

In response to the ongoing Covid-19 situation, Which? has created a dedicated consumer rights hub to keep people updated with useful information and advice.

Premier League Primary Stars - education resources for families Primary Stars resources aim to inspire children to learn and stay active and can help add structure to their day at home. These online resources cover English, Maths, Physical activity and Health and Wellbeing for five to 11-year-olds. The education videos and learning packs feature Premier League stars and mascots and there are also games and activities to help keep learning fun, enjoyable and active! They will continue to add to this content on a daily basis so there is always something new for parents to help support them with ideas, games and some fun activity.

Free STEM education resources for young people The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has made its extensive range of exciting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) activities and resources available, free to all children and parents.

Primary School Age resources can be found here

Secondary School Age resources can be found here

Girlguiding has launched an online resource hub Adventures At Home packed with activities to entertain children and young people across the UK. These resources are a brilliant way to explore and help build wellbeing and resilience indoors.

MIND have shared their latest information about looking after your wellbeing during these uncertain times . Their information includes practical advice and tips for looking after your mental health and wellbeing whilst staying at home, including a handy checklist to help manage this. They also have information specifically for young people who are worried about coronavirus and want to know how to cope with changes to their lives.

Comment from Derek:

“My thoughts are with the families of those who have passed away from this virus. I want to re-assure Halton constituents that my office will continue to function – my staff will work from home.  

We can all take action to minimise the impact of COVID-19 by taking basic precautions like washing our hands and self-isolating if we become ill. Please remember that you are not just protecting yourself, you will be protecting the more vulnerable members of our society by helping prevent the spread of this disease.”