Coronavirus national information and advice for everyone
A first look at yesterday’s new government advice suggests there are three sets of advice for three groups of people.
1. If there is any possibility at all that you might have the virus, your entire household must self-isolate for fourteen days. That means, if you have a new cough, or a fever, none of you should leave the house at all, for two full weeks, “even to buy food or essentials” – although you may leave the house “for exercise, and, in that case, keep a safe distance from others”. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. There is no need to contact 111 simply to tell them that you are staying at home. Testing for coronavirus is not needed and is unlikely to be available.
2. If you were born in the 1950s or earlier, you are more likely than others to need a ventilator if you get the virus, and there aren’t enough ventilators if everyone gets it at once, so for your own sake, and for the sake of others, you are also asked to self-isolate until this is all over – twelve weeks initially. Again, you may leave the house for exercise, but should keep a safe distance from others.
3. Everybody else is asked to reduce social contact to a minimum: work from home, eliminate unnecessary travel, avoid social activities (including pubs, restaurants, theatres and cinemas), and do not have visitors in your home (even friends and family). Do not visit friends or relatives in care homes unless absolutely necessary. Avoid using the NHS if at all possible. Try nhs.uk before any other NHS service.
Pregnant women, and people with long-term health vulnerabilities, should follow the same advice as group 2 above.
If you are self-isolating with symptoms, use nhs.uk if you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, if your condition gets worse, or if your symptoms do not get better after seven days. Only call 111 if you cannot get the help you need from nhs.uk online.
The previous advice remains in place:
* Use a tissue for coughs and sneezes – and if you don’t have one, use your sleeve rather than your hand
* Avoid touching other people – at all – it’s a lot to ask, but this one piece of advice makes a huge difference
* Wash your hands immediately after touching anyone, and before you go out, and as soon as you get in, and before touching anything in the kitchen, before eating or drinking, and before and after using public transport, or visiting any public building or private home – use soap and hot water and wash for 20 seconds, paying extra attention to thumbs, and nails, and including the backs of your hands – a block of soap, or even washing‑up liquid or shampoo, will work, if you don’t have liquid hand soap
* Avoid touching even your own face – wash your hands first – and take extra care with dentures, and when helping others
* Avoid close contact with people who are unwell if at all possible
* Keep a metre apart in all public places
The churches are expecting instructions from the bishops later today (Tuesday)
For now, the bishops suggest that you can time your 20 seconds of handwashing by saying the Lord’s Prayer
Local arrangements for the four villages
I am urgently contacting local shops and volunteers this morning to update information on potential home grocery deliveries for those who are self-isolating. If you are in a position to help, by collecting ready-prepared food packages from a single designated local shop, and dropping them off on people’s doorsteps, please let me know: email firstname.lastname@example.org. We had expected to develop this new volunteer service slowly, with self-isolations lasting two weeks and increasing in number slowly; instead, we have about 200 self-isolations immediately, lasting twelve weeks. Hopefully most people will be able to rely on neighbours, friends, and relatives, but we may well need volunteers to fill the gaps. Please do get in touch.
I will aim to update throughout the day and throughout the week with further news and developments.
I will use the Weekly Bulletin email list to send out updates: subscribe here
Michael Hampson (vicar) 6am Tuesday 17 March
Additional local information and advice
Number of recorded cases locally
from BBC News updated Monday 16 March
Lancashire: 8 cases (population 1,210,053)
Cumbria: 10 cases (population 498,888)
North Yorkshire: 6 cases (population 614,505)