CORONAVIRUS HELP & ADVICE
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PRACTICAL DEMONSTRATION OF SOCIAL DISTANCING
WARNING – Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitiser – Vehicle Fires
This is to alert residents to the potential fire risk in vehicles, caused by alcohol-based hand sanitiser. There have been a number of reports of hand sanitiser being the cause of fires when left in vehicles in the hot weather the UK is currently experiencing. The alcohol hand sanitiser is becoming heated resulting in flammable vapours being released. These vapours are reaching their ‘flashpoint’ and then ignite in normal air conditions, setting fire to flammable components within the car.
Please remove all alcohol-based hand sanitiser products from vehicles when they are not occupied, do not leave hand sanitiser in un-attended vehicles.
You should continue to use hand sanitiser as part of your hygiene routine where you cannot use soap & water. Remember: hand hygiene is one of the most effective methods to stop the spread of COVID-19 following indirect contact (picking up the virus up by touching contaminated surfaces and objects).
SUPPORT IN THE COMMUNITY
HELP FOR THE VULNERABLE
If you are vulnerable and have no friends, family or neighbours to support you, or if you are worried about someone in this situation, there is a new contact number for the help line if you need assistance during the present restrictions and you are now asked to ring 01305 221000 which is the central number for support in Dorset although you can still leave requests and messages at email@example.com and these will be passed on. The help line is open 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week and they have access to a large number of helpers throughout the County.
What can you do?
You can help your neighbours who are isolating, or those who you know may be vulnerable or at risk, or you feel may be unable to cope under the present restrictions, by simple acts of good neighbourliness. It is, however, essential that you only provide support to people who are in isolation if:
- You are well and have no symptoms like a cough or high temperature and nobody in your household does
- You are under 70
- You are not pregnant
- You do not have any long-term health conditions that make you vulnerable to coronavirus.
Importantly, you should not go inside the homes of anyone you do not live with, especially vulnerable people or people who believe they may be infected and are isolating themselves. Breaking these rules could put you at risk of infection, or risk spreading it to others.
Shopping – if people staying at home because of coronavirus need basic necessities, you could make a special trip although you should try to limit the time you spend outside your home by picking up essential items for others only when you do your own shopping. Alternatively, you could help those who aren’t as familiar with online shopping by placing an order for them or by talking them through the process over the phone.
Medication – you can pick up prescriptions on someone else’s behalf although people should only request medication that they need, in their usual quantities.
Well Being – staying at home for a long time can be a lonely experience and may impact on people’s wellbeing. Just saying hello and regularly checking in over the phone or by video-chat is important and helpful in making people realise that they are not alone.
Safety – Remember to keep a safe distance (2m or 6ft away from anyone you do not live with) when leaving any items on the person’s doorstep or drop off area, and make sure that they have collected the shopping or medication before leaving.
You should also regularly wash your hands with soapy water for at least 20 seconds.
If you have offered to help other people, please do not place yourself in positions where you may feel unsafe, for instance helping late at night.
If you or someone in your household has shown symptoms, or if you are more vulnerable to coronavirus yourself, then you must stay home. You can still play an important role but will need to do this from home.
NEW ARRANGEMENTS ON GOING OUTSIDE & GOING TO WORK
Coronavirus – What you can and can’t do – This guidance applies in England
Update for people who are shielding
We know that many residents have been shielding throughout the pandemic and the government has announced plans to relax advice to those people. We know this may cause some anxiety and we want to reassure you that it’s still your choice whether to go out or not. Dorset Council will be issuing more guidance as soon as it comes through, but in the meantime, if you still need help and support to get food, medicines or even access to befriending services, you can call our community response helpline on 01305 221000.
From Wednesday 1 July, the operating hours will be 9am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday, in line with the government helpline opening hours.
Changes from the 4 July
You can meet in groups of up to two households (your support bubblecounts as one household) in any location – public or private, indoors or outdoors. You do not always have to meet with the same household – you can meet with different households at different times. However, it remains the case – even inside someone’s home – that you should socially distance from anyone not in your household or bubble. This change also does not affect the support you receive from your carers
When you are outside you can continue to meet in groups of up to six people from different households, following social distancing guidelines
Additional businesses and venues, including restaurants, pubs, cinemas, visitor attractions, hotels, and campsites will be able to open – but we will continue to keep closed certain premises where the risks of transmission may be higher
Other public places, such as libraries, community centres, places of worship, outdoor playgrounds and outdoor gyms will be able to open
Stay overnight away from your home with your own household or support bubble, or with members of one other household
It will be against the law to gather in groups larger than 30 people, except for a limited set of circumstances to be set out in law
Moving forward, from 4 July, people will be trusted to continue acting responsibly by following this and related guidance, subject to an upper legal limit on gatherings (as described above). The overwhelming majority of the British public have complied with the regulations, and the wider guidance on how to keep them and their friends and family as safe as possible. Taking this into account, we trust people to continue acting responsibly, and to follow the guidance on what they should and should not do.
You should not:
- gather indoors in groups of more than two households (your support bubble counts as one household) – this includes when dining out or going to the pub
- gather outdoors in a group of more than six people from different households; gatherings larger than 6 should only take place if everyone is from just two households
- interact socially with anyone outside the group you are attending a place with, even if you see other people you know, for example, in a restaurant, community centre or place of worship
- hold or attend celebrations (such as parties) where it is difficult to maintain social distancing
- stay overnight away from your home with members of more than one other household (your support bubble counts as one household)
Gatherings of more than 30 people will be prohibited, apart from some limited circumstances to be set out in law.
I don’t have to stay at home anymore?
On 19 June, the UK CMOs changed the COVID-19 alert level from level four to level three following recommendation by the Joint Biosecurity Centre. This means that the virus is considered to be in general circulation but transmission is no longer high or rising exponentially. As a result, you are less likely to encounter the virus when you leave your home.
However, when you leave your home, you should follow the guidelines on staying safe outside your home. As businesses reopen and people begin to socialise more regularly, everyone should continue to socially distance from people they do not live with or are not in their support bubble, and should wash their hands regularly. This will help to protect you and anyone you come into contact with and is critical to keeping everyone as safe as possible.
The more people you have interactions with, the more chance the virus has to spread. Therefore, try to limit the number of people you see – especially over short periods of time.
If you or someone in your household or your support bubble is showing coronavirus symptoms, everyone in your support bubble should stay home. If you or a member of your support bubble is contacted as part of the test and trace programme, the individual contacted should stay at home. If that individual becomes symptomatic, everyone in the support bubble must then isolate. This is critical to staying safe and saving lives.
What businesses are reopening?
From 4 July, many businesses and venues will be permitted to reopen and will be expected to follow COVID-19 Secure guidelines. Please use the link further down to view the full list of premises that can open and thos ethat will not be allowed to.
Can I start visiting people indoors now?
From 4 July, you will be able to meet indoors in groups of up to two households (your support bubble counts as one household). This includes inviting people from one household into your home or visiting the home of someone else with members of your own household. You should continue to maintain social distancing with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble when doing so.
If you are in a support bubble you can continue to see each other without needing to maintain social distancing.
The more people you have interactions with, the more chance the virus has to spread. Therefore, try to limit the number of people you see – especially over short periods of time. The risk of transmission is also higher indoors, so you should take extra care to stay as safe as possible.
How many people am I allowed to meet with outdoors?
At present, you are allowed to meet in groups of up to six people who you do not live with or who are not in your support bubble. You are only allowed to meet in groups of more than six people if everyone is a member of the same household or support bubble.
From 4 July, you can continue to meet in a group of up to six people from multiple households, or in a group made up of two households ( your support bubble counts as one household), even if this is more than six people.
There is more information about the guidelines you should follow when meeting people you do not live with here.
Can I visit a clinically vulnerable person?
We know that people 70 and over, those with certain underlying conditions and pregnant women may be more clinically vulnerable, so we have advised them to take particular care to avoid contact with others.
Although such individuals can meet people outdoors and, from 4 July, indoors, you and they should be especially careful and be diligent about social distancing and hand hygiene. Never take a chance on visiting a clinically vulnerable person if you think you have COVID-19 symptoms, however mild.
Never visit a clinically vulnerable person if you have been advised to isolate by NHS Test and Trace because you have been in contact with a case.
You can also visit a clinically vulnerable person inside if you are providing care or assistance to them. You should not do so if you have coronavirus symptoms, however mild.
Wherever possible, you should stay socially distant from others, use a tissue when sneezing and dispose of it safely, cough into the crook of your elbow and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser if washing facilities are not easily available.
If someone is defined as clinically extremely vulnerable and being asked to shield, you should follow the guidance for a shielded person.
Are there restrictions on how far I can travel?
No. You can travel irrespective of distance, but you should take hygiene and safety precautions if using services on the way. You should continue to avoid using public transport and should cycle, walk or drive wherever possible.
If visiting other parts of the UK – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – you must adhere to the laws and guidance of the devolved administrations at all times. If you wish to travel internationally, you should follow the laws of other countries and FCO international travel guidance. Upon return to the UK, you must by law self-isolate for 14 days. This is crucial to help to ensure the virus does not spread across borders.
It is not possible to social distance during car journeys and transmission of COVID-19 can definitely occur during car journeys, so avoid travelling with someone from outside your household (or your support bubble), unless you can practise social distancing – for example by cycling.
Can I use public transport if I’m seeing friends in a park or going to my parents’ garden?
You should avoid using public transport if you can. You should cycle, walk or drive wherever possible. If you need to use public transport, you should follow the safer travel guidance for passengers.
Can I share a private vehicle with someone from another household?
You should avoid sharing a private vehicle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble as you will not be able to keep to strict social distancing guidelines. The Department for Transport has provided specific guidance on using private vehicles. Please see their guidance on Private cars and other vehicles for more information on car sharing and traveling with people outside your household group.
Are day trips ok?
Yes, day trips to outdoor open space are allowed. You should take hygiene and safety precautions if using services on the way. You should practise social distancing from other people outside your household or support bubble. You should continue to avoid using public transport if you can. Consider all other forms of transport before using public transport. If you need to use public transport, you should follow the safer travel guidance for passengers.
Will a face covering stop me getting COVID-19?
The evidence suggests that face coverings can help us protect each other and reduce the spread of the disease if you are suffering from coronavirus, but not showing symptoms.
To protect yourself, you should continue to follow social distancing measures and isolation guidance and wash your hands regularly.
Advice regarding this virus is being updated regularly and rather than try to keep copying the information and have instead provided links to the sources that we were using.
CORONAVIRUS ADVICE LINKS
Advice from the UK Government can be accessed by clicking here
Advice is available on the Yetminster Health Centre website which can be accessed by clicking here
Advice from Dorset Council (includes disposal of contaminated tissues) can be accessed by clicking here
Advice re Cleansing and Disenfection can be accessed by clicking here
CLEANING & DISINFECTION ADVICE
WHAT TO DO ABOUT LETTERS AND PARCELS
The advice is not particularly clear but in theory it appears that, as the Coronavirus can survive for up to 72hrs on hard surfaces – softer materials, such as fabric or carpeting, are less likely to pass on the virus than frequently-touched hard surfaces – letters and parcels could become infected. However, the roughness of transportation and the associated mechanical, temperature, and humidity changes may kill the virus before they reach their destination.
As there is not (as of 28 March) any specific advice it is probably worthwhile, where a person is likely to be at risk, considering disinfect a parcel with an alcohol-based wipe before handling it, minimise contact with the packaging and then wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water (or with hand sanitiser) after opening and discarding the boxes. If practical letters should be treated in the same way.
HOW TO ISOLATE IN A FAMILY SITUTATION
WHAT TO DO ABOUT TAKEAWAYS ?
Many local restaurants have repurposed their businesses as takeaways. Because of the normal inspection routines there would be minimal risk from a freshly cooked takeaway meal.
The risk of packaging contamination can be minimised it is advised, by “emptying the contents [into a clean dish], disposing of the packaging into a refuse bag and washing your hands thoroughly before you eat”.
“Take food out of a container with a spoon and eat it with a knife and fork – not your fingers.”
It might be better in the current circumstances to order hot, freshly cooked food, rather than cold or raw items. The Food Standards Agency does stress that the risk from food is low and that “there is no reason to avoid having ready-to-eat food delivered if it has been prepared and handled properly”.
For the most cautious and the most vulnerable though, careful preparation and cooking may be reassuring. “With a pizza for example, if you wanted to be really safe, you could even pop it into the microwave for a couple of minutes,” it is advised.