With the seriousness of the threat of Coronavirus to our safety and health, the government has been introducing and regularly updating guidance to in order to try and safeguard people and the NHS from the potential impacts of the virus.

This article will summarise the key points of current guidance for citizens and link to their sources. In addition, we’ve linked some of our own articles that may help you to cope with the measures outlined here.

Whats in this section?

Whats in this section?

The below is a summary of the latest government guidance on staying at home and away from others during this time. The full guidance can be found here.

Current regulations

as of the 19th July, England move to Step 4 of the roadmap, which means the following:

Remember to follow guidance on how to stop the spread of COVID-19, such as letting in fresh air.

What about areas with high numbers of Indian/Delta variant cases?

Source: gov.uk

The new COVID-19 variant (known as Delta) spreads more easily than the other variants that were previously most common. Currently the delta variant is spreading faster in the following areas:

To help stop the spread, you should:

  • Get both doses of the vaccine when you are offered it, and encourage others to do so as well
  • Participate in surge testing in your local area, whether you are vaccinated or not
  • Self-isolate immediately if you have any symptoms of COVID-19 (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste) or if you’ve tested positive for COVID-19

In the areas listed above, you should also take particular caution when meeting anyone outside your household or support bubble. Wherever possible, you should try to:

  • Meet outside rather than inside where possible
  • Keep 2 metres apart from people that you do not live with (unless you have formed a support bubble with them), this includes friends and family you don’t live with
  • Minimise travel in and out of affected areas

You should also:

You should get tested for COVID-19. This includes:

You should self-isolate immediately if you have symptoms or a positive test result for COVID-19. There is financial support if you’re off work because of coronavirus.

Working in other people’s homes

Where it is reasonably necessary for you to work in other people’s homes you can continue to do so, for example if you’re a:

  • nanny
  • cleaner
  • tradesperson
  • social care worker providing support to children and families

You should follow the guidance on working in other people’s homes. Where a work meeting does not need to take place in a private home or garden, it should not.

If you are worried about going in to work or you cannot work

There is guidance if you need to self-isolate or cannot go to work due to coronavirus and what to do if you’re employed and cannot work.

Citizens Advice has advice if you’re worried about working, including what to do if you think your workplace is not safe, or if you live with someone vulnerable.

Support is available if you cannot work, for example if you need to care for someone or you have less work.

There is further advice for employers and employees from ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service).

Guidance on going to School, College or University

Guidance on Childcare

Guidance on Exercise, Sport and Physical Activities

Guidance on Weddings, Ceremonies and Receptions

International travel

Travelling internationally from England

There are no longer any restrictions on leaving England to travel internationally, however to protect public health in the UK and the vaccine rollout, you should not travel to countries or territories on the red or amber lists.

If you travel to one of these countries or territories, you should look at the rules in place at your destination and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice. You should do this even if you are returning to a place you’ve visited before.

Travelling to England from outside the UK

All visitors travelling to England are subject to the coronavirus restriction rules.

What you must do when you arrive in England from abroad depends on where you have been in the last 10 days before you arrive.

People planning to travel to England should follow the guidance on entering the UK.

Find out what list the country you are travelling from is on and what you need to do.

NHS COVID-19 app

The NHS COVID-19 app is an important part of NHS Test and Trace. App users can check symptoms, order a test, receive results and advice and check in to venues. The app sends anonymous alerts if the user has been in close contact with another app user who has tested positive and will notify them that they should self-isolate, thereby helping to break chains of transmission and keep people safe.

This guidance explains how employers and businesses can support NHS Test and Trace and play their part to slow the spread of the virus, protect the health and care system and save lives.

Getting tested for COVID-19

Rapid Flow Testing – Regular Testing for Workplaces, Education settings and Care Homes:

Rapid lateral flow testing is now available free to anybody without symptoms. You can get your tests from pharmacies, testing sites, employers, schools, colleges and universities. Find out more about how to get rapid lateral flow tests. Testing twice a week will help make sure you don’t have COVID-19, reducing the risk to those around you.

If you have symptoms:

If you have symptoms you should continue to get a PCR test. If you’re not sure, you can find out which coronavirus test you should get.

You must self isolate if you test positive. Do not meet up with others and follow the stay at home guidance.

If the test is positive

If you get a positive test result, you are legally required to self-isolate for 10 days from the day your symptoms started. You will be asked by NHS Test and Trace to provide details of anyone who you have been in close contact with. This will not automatically be all of your co-workers, but anyone who meets the definition of a close contact.

NHS Test and Trace will notify those you had close contact with and instruct them to self-isolate. When NHS Test and Trace notifies contacts to self-isolate, it does not tell them the identity of the person who has tested positive. If you are identified as a close contact of a positive case, then you are legally required to self-isolate for 10 days beginning from the last time you were exposed to the positive case.

If you are an NHS COVID-19 app user, please share your result anonymously with other app users so that people you have been in close contact with recently will be alerted.

If you are told to self-isolate you must stay at home

If you are told to self-isolate and are due to work somewhere other than your place of self-isolation, you have a legal duty to inform your employer as soon as possible before you are next due to work. Failure to do so could result in a £50 fine.

If you need to provide evidence to your employer of a positive test result, or the fact that you have been in close contact with a positive case, you can request an isolation note from the NHS.

If you are self-isolating because you are a close contact but you develop symptoms while you are self-isolating, then you must order a test as soon as possible.

A negative test result does not mean that you can stop self-isolating as you may still be in the incubation period (the time between exposure to the virus and symptom onset), and you could go on to develop COVID-19 in the following days. Do not order a test if you do not have symptoms.

Isolation – staying safe and well

Looking after your health and wellbeing during these times of lockdown and self-isolation is essential, so we’ve put together some tips and links to our related articles to help you cope during this period.

Support for people self-isolating

Statutory Sick Pay

If it is not possible for you to work, you may receive Statutory Sick Pay, provided you meet the eligibility criteria, Further guidance is available on what to do if you are employed and cannot work.

Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme

If you are told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app, you may be eligible for a payment of £500 from your local authority through the Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme. The scheme is also open to parents and guardians who have not been told to self-isolate, but who need to take time off work to care for a child who is required to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

More information on the scheme and eligibility criteria.

Getting essential groceries

To support those having difficulty getting food and essential supplies, some shops are still setting aside special times for NHS workers, and older and vulnerable customers, including carers, to shop; as well as giving priority for on-line shopping deliveries and other community support. Many of these now decide on a store by store basis so best to ask instore for more details.

Some local restaurants are still operating as takeaway or delivery services if they are unable to reopen due to not being able to meet social distancing measures. There may be local Facebook groups with details or try checking the Websites/ Facebook pages of local restaurants.

Accessing food and supplies if youre clinically vulnerable

If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable you should have received a letter from the NHS asking you to self isolate, the letter should also tell you how to register for deliveries of food parcels to your home.

If you have not yet registered for support, you can either:

You need your NHS number to hand when you register. This will be at the top of the letter you have received letting you know you are clinically extremely vulnerable or on any prescriptions.

Staying connected

With so many of us now either working from home or self-isolating, staying in touch with family and friends has become more important than ever, here we outline our top tips for staying connected.

1. Try and regularly contact friends or family either by phone, email or social media, perhaps once a day. Video calling from smartphone apps over WIFI is a great way of staying in touch, the BBC recently released a short video on how to do so with WhatsApp, which is available on most smartphones:

For more information on staying connected, you can also see our article on digital skills for older people

2. If you feel like you need emotional support and cannot contact a friend or family member, there are a number of helplines available:

  • Samaritans can provide emotional support – call FREE on 116 123
  • Mind can support those with mental health problems and advise where to get help – 0300 123 3393
  • Silverline provide a helpline for older people – 0800 4 70 80 90

You can also see our article on combatting loneliness in older people for more information on how to recevie similar support.

3. If you have children, try to involve them in plans for good health during this time, try to explain the fact to them without alarming them with over-exposure, mentalhealth.org has a great article on how to talk to your children about the coronavirus pandemic: https://mentalhealth.org.uk/coronavirus/talking-to-children

Want to help your local community? You could sign up for the national care workforce: https://www.carechoices.co.uk/join-the-national-care-force/

If you’re interested in trying to help those local to you, you may want to first read the new GOV.UK guidance on How to Help Safely

Also of note is that Car, Van and Motorcycle MOT’s whose expiry date is on or after 30th March 2020 have their expiry date extended by 6 months, however, you must keep your vehicle safe to drive. So should you have to drive somewhere, you can do so during this period. You MUST still keep your vehicle tax up to date during this time.

Keeping fit and well

Looking after your physical health when you’re only allowed out once per day in most cases may seem difficult, but there are some simple tips you can follow to make things easier and more manageable:

There are a number of simple exercises that can be done from home, Women’s Health recently shared a video on a simple 10 minute home workout for older people:

Some of the examples in our article on fitness tips for older people could also help here (obviously bear in mind the suggestions on group activities are not currently appropriate).

Protect your mental health

While it’s important to keep abreast of the news and up to date guidance from the government during these times, its also important to remember that news outlets can sometimes sensationalise stories to create a larger response, in these times this can be more stressful than usual.

To protect your mental health and manage your anxiety over the current situation, try to do the following:

  • Limit the amount of time you spend watching or reading things which aren’t making you feel better, maybe try deciding on a specific time to check the news each day.
  • Stick to trusted sources of information with regards to situation updates, such as government and NHS websites.
  • Have breaks from social media and try to mute or block topics and hashtags which increase your anxiety.
  • Keep busy, it’s an ideal time for all those things around the house you’ve been meaning to do, you can also see our article on the 6 best brain training apps available, to help keep your mind sharp while you’re stuck at home.

The impact of false information

Be careful about what you share online. Things aren’t always what they seem, and there is still a large amount of false information about COVID-19 floating around.

False information about symptoms etc can cause people to panic and act out, and escalate an already difficult situation. Do your research before sharing information with others.

Care home visits

The rules are different depending on whether you are visiting someone in a care home or a resident is having a visit out of the home.

Full guidance on Care Home Visits during this time is available.

Are care home visits allowed?

Current Guidance (up to 19th July):

Residents can have up to 5 named visitors. Up to 2 will be able to visit the care home at the same time (and a maximum of 2 on the same day).

Every care home resident should be offered the opportunity to nominate an essential care giver. These visitors can visit on the same day as up to 2 named visitors. They should also be allowed to visit during outbreaks or periods of isolation (but not if the essential care giver or resident is COVID-positive, unless this is for an end of life visit to a resident who is COVID-positive). Babies and very young children do not count towards this limit, however national restrictions on indoor gatherings must be adhered to.

This is to allow care homes to ensure that visiting arrangements can be conducted safely and in line with current infection control guidance.

There is separate guidance for people in supported living.

According to the statement made by the new Health Secretary Sajid Javid, as of the 19th July:

  • the cap on named care home visitors will be lifted
  • health care settings will continue to require staff to wear PPE, and it will likely be suggested for visitors to wear masks during visits.

Care Act Easements

During this time, some temporary changes have been made to the powers Local Authorities have when conducting care assessments and financial assessments for care.

In general terms, they do not have to carry out detailed assessments of peoples care and support needs during this time, they will undertake simpler, more streamlined checks instead. The same applies to financial assessments. This is so that requests for care and support from those isolated at home and in need can be responded to and met more quickly.

However it also means that Local Authorities will be able to charge people retrospectively for the care they receive during this time, should they be deemed able to pay for it themselves under a later financial assessment.

Local Authorities also will not have to prepare or review care plans during this time, as long as they carry out proportionate care planning for those involved.

Finally, Local Authorities now have the “power to meet care needs”, allowing them to, during this time, prioritise the needs of the most vulnerable and at-risk, even to the extent of temporarily reducing or delaying other care provision.

With this issue being so potentially complicated, the full terms of the Care Act Easement are outlined here, they have been updated as of the 20th September.

Guidance for carers

What should you be doing as a carer

After July 19th, as with many other healthcare professionals, it is recommended that carers continue to wear masks and ppe where possible.

As a carer, unless you are self-isolating alongside the person you are caring for, it is recommended that:

  • If you believe you are showing symptoms of COVID-19, or someone you live with does (if you are not living with the person you are caring for) try and organise someone to take over for you while you self isolate.
  • Utilising good, regular hand hygiene. Do this when arriving and leaving care receivers properties, when preparing food etc.
  • Using standard PPE where available. If you are caring for a family member you may be able to access these through your GP or local carers support organisation.
  • If carers or care workers undertake cleaning duties, they should ensure they are using household products effective at killing off germs and viruses, such as antibacterials, detergents and bleach.
  • All waste should be placed into bags, then another bag, and put aside for 72 hours before being placed into the normal household bins for collection.
  • With regards to the laundry for people suspected of having COVID-19, DO NOT SHAKE IT. This minimises the potential of dispersing the virus through the air. If the individual does not have a washing machine, put the items to one side and wait seven days after the 7 day isolation period before taking them to a laundrette.

As a family carer, you should also consider the following:

Create an emergency plan, laying out the needs of the person you care for, including setting out:

  • The cared-for individuals contact details
  • Who yourself and the person being cared for would like to be contacted in the event of an emergency
  • Details of any medication the person being cared-for is taking
  • Information about any ongoing treatment they need
  • Details of upcoming medical appointments

Try to ensure it is in a format that can be easily shared with other people who will need to discuss the plan.

If you are struggling to organise alternative care for a loved one while you are self-isolating, try contacting one of the services listed within our Homecare providers section: https://www.carechoices.co.uk/care-location-type/homecare/

You can also look into our Carers section in our Service Directory for additional help and guidance from organisations offering carers respite and support services: https://www.carechoices.co.uk/contact-category/carers/

Guidance for care facilities

The government has also released guidance on how to maintain care in the event of an outbreak of COVID-19 for care providers. This includes guidance for:

Coronavirus tests for care homes

Test kits are now available for every care home for the over 65’s or those with dementia in England. Tests can now be ordered for all residents and staff regardless of symptoms, this allows individuals who are potentially asymptomatic to be tested, and helps to prevent and control outbreaks.

https://www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test-care-home

To apply you need:

  • the care home’s CQC location ID
  • total number of residents, including the number of residents with coronavirus symptoms
  • total number of staff, including agency staff
  • your contact details

A new task force has been set up to tackle the spread of COVID-19 in the social care sector, and begin implementing a care home support package to help end transmission in the community, as well as to advise on a plan to support the sector moving forward.

It will be headed up by Former ADASS president and Director of Adult Social care of DHSC, David Pearson CBE, and will consist of representatives from PHE, CQC, Care Providers Alliance, LGA, ADASS, HealthWatch England, MHCLG, Cabinet office and DHSC.

End of life care planning and arrangements

Obviously, none of us wants to consider worst-case scenarios, and we’re not going to draw you into the if’s and maybe’s of what this virus could mean for some us. But if you are in a potentially at-risk group, and haven’t considered any formal plan or arrangements, now wouldn’t be the worst time to get it set up.

One of our more recent articles highlights how to organise a person’s end of life care plan, and features some questions you may not have considered, and some resources that should make setting this up easier to deal with. See https://www.carechoices.co.uk/organising-a-persons-end-of-life-care/

Our Latest News and Blog’s Related to Coronavirus

Disclaimer:

The summaries of guidance and articles listed here are not a full and complete recitation of the original policies and guidance as provided by the government, health authorities and associated organisations. These summaries have been prepared in an effort to highlight key elements of these documents and articles, and bring them together in a single accessible location, NOT to replace them in any way shape or form. Every effort has been made to avoid mischaracterizations and to present these policies and guidance in an unbiased manner. Any failure to do so is unintentional. The full versions of every document mentioned can be viewed in their entirety through the relevant links.