Coronavirus COVID-19 Update

This page will try to give advice and information about the local situation with regards to the current Coronavirus situation

UK health officials have moved into the second phase of their response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Boris Johnson declares ‘worst public health crisis for a generation’

We have had a few cases locally – in Slough and Windsor & Maidenhead. We would advise social distancing where possible. Wash hands frequently, and thoroughly, and stay more than a meter from others (or 2m from anyone coughing or sneezing!)

What is the current advice in the UK? (updated 13/03/2020)

Risk level

The risk to the UK has been raised to high.

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

  1. The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of a new continuous cough and/or high temperature. If you have these symptoms, however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started. You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

  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 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.

At the current time and based on our understanding of what is known of COVID-19 and other similar respiratory viruses, it is likely that older people and those with chronic medical conditions may be vulnerable to severe disease. As more information emerges, recommendations may change.

What to do if you have symptoms

Stay at home for 7 days if you have either:

      • a high temperature
      • a new continuous cough

This will help to protect others in your community while you are infectious.

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

You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you’re staying at home.

We will not be testing people who are self-isolating with mild symptoms.

What do we know about the virus now?

The Covid-19 virus is a member of the coronavirus family that made the jump from animals to humans late last year. Many of those initially infected either worked or frequently shopped in the Huanan seafood wholesale market in the centre of the Chinese city of Wuhan. Unusually for a virus that has made the jump from one species to another, it appears to transmit effectively in humans – current estimates show that without strong containment measures the average person who catches Covid-19 will pass it on to two others. The virus also appears to have a higher mortality rate than common illnesses such as seasonal flu. The combination of coronavirus’s ability to spread and cause serious illness has prompted many countries, including the UK, to introduce or plan extensive public health measures aimed at containing and limiting the impact of the epidemic.

How can I stop myself and others from getting infected?

Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and do this often, including when you get home or into work. Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available. Avoid touching your face. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or the crook of your elbow (not your hand) and put used tissues straight in the bin. Avoid close contact with people who are showing possible symptoms. Follow NHS guidance on self-isolation and travel.

Do watch this video... you might think you know how to wash your hands, but most of us do not do it correctly!

Protecting Yourself Against Coronavirus

  1. Image titled Prevent Coronavirus Step 1
    1

    Wash your hands with soap and water to minimize your infection risk. The best way to prevent coronavirus is to wash your hands as often as possible. Wet your hands with warm water, then apply a mild soap. Work the soap into a lather for 20-30 seconds, (The time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice – apparently!) then rinse your hands clean under warm running water. You can also use the damp towel to turn off the tap, if yours is like mine and has no lever tap.

    • Always wash your hands before you eat or drink anything. However, it’s also best to wash your hands anytime you’re out in public or after you’re around someone you suspect may be sick.
    • If you can’t wash your hands, use a hand sanitizer that contains 60%+ alcohol.
     

  2. Image titled Prevent Coronavirus Step 2
    2

    Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. You may come into contact with the coronavirus on a surface, like a doorknob or countertop. When this happens, the germs can linger on your hands, so you can easily infect yourself if you touch your face with dirty hands. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth in case the virus is on your skin.

    • If you need to touch your face, wash your hands first so you’re less likely to infect yourself.
     

  3. Image titled Prevent Coronavirus Step 3
    3

    Stay away from people who are coughing or sneezing. Since coronavirus is a respiratory infection, coughing and sneezing are common symptoms. Additionally, coughing and sneezing both release the virus into the air, so they may increase your risk of infection. Keep your distance from people who appear to have symptoms of an upper respiratory infection.

    • If it’s appropriate, ask the person to stay away from you. You could say, “I noticed you were coughing. I hope you feel better soon, but please keep your distance so I don’t get sick.”
    • Recent reports indicate that coronavirus may be transmitted by people who aren’t symptomatic, so staying away from people who are coughing and sneezing isn’t necessarily a guarantee (though it’s still good practice). Try to exercise caution around anyone who may have been around other sick people recently, too.
     

  4. Image titled Prevent Coronavirus Step 4
    4

    Disinfect high-touch surfaces daily using a product that kills viruses (ideally alcohol or bleach or peroxide based). Unfortunately, coronavirus can linger on surfaces, such as doorknobs, countertops, and taps. Use a spray disinfectant or bleach wipes to clean these surfaces daily. Make sure the surface stays wet for about 10 minutes so it effectively kills the virus. This limits the risk of the virus lingering on the surfaces and potentially causing an infection.

    • In your home, disinfect your front doorknob, kitchen counters, bathroom counters, and taps.
    • At work, clean surfaces that people tend to touch, such as doorknobs, stair railings, tables, and surface counters.
    • You can also make disinfectant by mixing 1 cup (240 ml) of bleach with 1 gallon (3.8 L) of warm water.
     

  5. Image titled Prevent Coronavirus Step 6
    5

    Try not to worry too much if you’re not truly at risk. Myths about coronavirus have spread on social media, sometimes causing unnecessary fear. It’s helpful to fact-check your sources before making any decisions – check with the reliable sources above.

    • There’s no need to assume, for example, that contact with a Chinese person will give you a disease. Chinese and other East Asian people have been facing unnecessary discrimination. But most of them are healthy, and aren’t necessarily more likely to spread diseases than anyone else.
    • Lists of foods to avoid are not necessarily factual. Check to see if they cite reliable sources.