As you will be aware coronavirus (also known as Covid-19) is increasingly becoming a concern as it spreads around the world. As of 2 March 2020, the UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the UK from low to moderate. This permits the government to plan for all eventualities however currently the number of cases in the UK is relatively small.
Most people recover from the illness after experiencing heavy cold or flu like symptoms for 6–8 days. However, Coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.
Current Government advice is that people should practice good hygiene in order to slow the spread of the virus. The general advice is to follow these main guidelines:
- If you have been in contact with someone with coronavirus or have returned from an affected area identified by the Chief Medical Officer as high risk and you are feeling unwell with a cough, difficulty breathing or fever, stay at home and use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service or call NHS 111.
- 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 an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- 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.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
- 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.
While there is no specific guidance from Public Health England regarding church meetings we would like everyone to observe the following:
- We encourage everyone to maintain good hygiene standards, which of course should be the case as part of normal practice.
- We hope to be providing hand gel at the entrance to the building and will ensure that there is a good supply of soap and or gel in the toilets, kitchens and other appropriate areas. Please observe the posters that give guidance on how to wash hands thoroughly.
- All pastoral visitors made to homes will observe all precautions in personal hygiene before and after such visits. Visits to people in care homes or hospitals will follow advice from the staff on infection control. No pastoral visits will be undertaken to people who are self-isolating until isolation ends, but other forms of pastoral support such as phone calls and shopping or food dropped at the door will be maintained.
- As the best way to prevent the spread of the virus is by practicing good hygiene standards please observe the NHS posters that have been put on display throughout our building.
- We respectfully ask all members to stay away from the church if they feel unwell with flu like symptoms and to seek advice by calling NHS 111 or go to the NHS 111 coronavirus advice website.
- If you have travelled to coronavirus affected areas, please follow Government advice for returning travellers. If you are asked to self-isolate you can find more information about that here.