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CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) - OVERVIEW

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus.

Stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms

Stay at home for 7 days if you have either:

  • high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you're staying at home.

Read our advice about staying at home.

 

Urgent advice: Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

  • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • your condition gets worse
  • your symptoms do not get better after 7 days

Use the 111 coronavirus service. Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

 

How coronavirus is spread

Because it's a new illness, we do not know exactly how coronavirus spreads from person to person.

Similar viruses are spread in cough droplets. It's very unlikely it can be spread through things like packages or food.

How to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus

Do

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell

Don't

  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

 

Treatment for coronavirus

There is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus.

Antibiotics do not help, as they do not work against viruses.

Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the illness.

You'll need to stay in isolation, away from other people, until you have recovered.

Latest updates

Coronavirus Update - 20th March 18:00

Following the latest COVID-19 press conference Prime Minster Boris Johnson and the Chancellor Rishi Sunak have provided the following update.

A summary of the further measures announced at this afternoon’s conference is included below in full.

Health measures

  • Cafes, pubs, clubs, bars, restaurants, gyms, indoor leisure centres and theatres to close this evening and not reopen for the foreseeable future
    • Closures to be reviewed on a month by month basis, with establishment to be continued to allowed to offer takeaway options
    • England's deputy chief medical officer, Dr Jenny Harries clarified that closures would apply to all establishments where people gathered for “social opportunities”. Further specific guidance would be published imminently.

Economic support measures

  • Coronavirus job retention scheme: Available for all businesses. Government to pay 80% of wages for furloughed employees (kept on the books, but via a leave of absence) up to £2,500 per month with employer top ups beyond that welcome.
    • Backdated to March 1st – initially for a  3 month period, which can be extended if necessary
    • No limit on the scheme. Grants to support as many jobs as necessary
    • Scheme aims to be up and running in the next few weeks, with the first payments made by the end of April
  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme: Interest free period extended to 12 months. Loans for businesses confirmed to be available from Monday
  • VAT: Next quarter of VAT payments deferred with no businesses paying VAT until June. Estimated cost of £30 billion, or 1.5% of GDP
  • Strengthened safety net: £7 billion investment in the welfare system, increasing Universal Credit standard allowance and Working Tax Credit basic element by £1000 each per year  
    • Suspending minimum income floor for Universal Credit, to give the self-employed access to the credit up to the level of Statuary Sick Pay
    • Self- employed self-assessment payments deferred to 2021
  • £1 billion of support for renters: Increasing the generosity of housing benefit and universal credit, so that the Local Housing Allowance will cover at least 30% of market rents in your area.
  • National advertising campaign: To publicise business support measures


Coronavirus: Chancellor unveils £330bn lifeline for economy - 17th March 2020 20:00

Measures to support business

  • £330bn of Government-backed loans: the Government announced two measures to allow businesses access to cheap credit to support their cash flows
  • For large businesses, the Government had agreed a new lending facility with the Bank of England to allow businesses access to low-cost commercial paper.
  • For small business, the Government will extend the Business Interruption Loan Scheme announced at the Budget to provide loans of up to £5m with no interest payable in the first 6 months.
  • The Chancellor also said he would utilise legal powers in the Covid-19 Bill currently passing through Parliament to offer whatever financial support would become necessary throughout the pandemic.
  • Measures for hospitality, leisure and retail sectors: The Government announced that for businesses in these sectors it would:
  • Cut business rates to zero for all businesses in this sector, regardless of the rateable value of their properties for the remainder of the year
  • For small businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000, the Government will also offer cash grants of up to £25,000 per business on top of the business rates holiday they received at the Budget.
  • It also made clear that for businesses with insurance against pandemics, the Government’s actions were sufficient for those businesses to make a claim against their insurers.
  • Cash grants: the Government will extend the cash grants announced at the Budget for the UK’s 700,000 smallest businesses to up to £10,000, delivered through local authorities to help with cash flow issues
  • Support for airlines and airports: the Chancellor will work with the Transport Secretary to provide a specific package to support the air travel industry in the coming days.
  • Industry roundtables: Sunak has asked his Cabinet colleagues to “urgently convene” meetings with business leaders and representatives in the most affected sectors, to identify other specific opportunities to support them and their industries, including possible regulatory forbearance.
  • Measures to support individuals
  • Mortgage holiday: the Government has agreed with the mortgage industry that borrowers impacted by COVID-19 will be granted a holiday on payments of 3 months.
  • Employment support: the Government will work with business and trade unions over the coming days to develop a new form of employment support. We would expect further announcements to be made on these issues shortly.

Thank you to our colleagues at the Secretariat of the British Takeaway Campaign for compiling this information.

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