I will be providing regular updates to you on the Government's response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the light of announcements made yesterday evening by the Prime Minister and Health Secretary.
As the Prime Minister stated, we are now involved in a national fightback against the coronavirus, which means we need to restrict certain aspects of our everyday life to prevent the risk of exposure.
As you will appreciate the current situation is changing daily and I will be posting updates on this page as they are announced. If you have specific queries please do not hesitate to contact my parliamentary office on 0161 672 6855/ 0207 219 8091 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a disease that appeared late-2019. Common signs of infection include fever, dry cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia or severe acute respiratory syndrome. Those who are older or have underlying health issues are more at risk.
Importance of hygiene
We must practice good hygiene which includes regular hand washing, sneezing/coughing into a tissue that is then thrown away. Follow advice to wash your hands frequently, for 20 seconds every time. You should also avoid touching your face, and food, without washing your hands immediately beforehand. To prevent infection, these measures are all recommended. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing and practice self-isolation if you show these symptoms. Click here for more information.
If you have a high temperature (37.8c) or a new continuous cough, the Government advises that you stay at home for 7 days. Should someone show any of these symptoms, the whole household must stay isolated for 14 days. This will help to others in our community while you are infectious. For further information and advice, please visit the NHS website.
Stay at home advice & social distancing
As of 23rd March, you should only leave the house for one of four reasons;
1. Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
2. One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household.
3. Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
4. Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.
These four reasons are exceptions - even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household. This position will be reviewed after three weeks. Further details can be found here.
The Government advises to only use the NHS when it is essential. The Government recommends that those over 70, pregnant women, and those with health conditions participate in social-distancing for 12 weeks. Guidance on social distancing can be found here. A stay at home guide for those with confirmed or possible coronavirus infection can be found here.
If you are concerned that you or a family member may have symptoms of the virus, current government advice can be found here. To protect yourself and others, do not go to a GP, pharmacy or hospital. Instead of ringing 111, please visit here. Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.
Travel and returning from abroad
The Government has issued travel advice against all travel overseas and British Nationals overseas are strongly advised to return immediately.
To stay up to date on the latest advice, please subscribe to updates or visit here. You should avoid all non-necessary travel until mid-April.
The Department for Education is currently advising against all overseas educational trips for children under 18. All schools will be closed for the majority of pupils from the afternoon of the 20th of March until further notice. Schools will remain open to vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers. The Government has also released further details about exam cancellations and grades. Further guidance can be found here.
The Chancellor has announced an extensive business support package which includes grants, loans, tax cuts and payment of wages. Further details are expected in the coming days. Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council are regularly updating their information here.
In the wake of legislation being relaxed, many of our local shops and restaurants are now offering delivery, with some of them putting their details here.
Measures to help the self employed include a taxable grant of up to 80% of average monthly earnings.
GP and dental appointments
GPs are limiting face to face appointments. Telephone appointments and online consultations will be available.
Dental information can be found here.
Mortgages and rents
Those with mortgages will be able to ask for a mortgage holiday should they need to do so.
A complete ban on evictions and additional protections for renters are in place, with more information here.
Statutory sick pay
If you are self-isolating because of coronavirus (COVID-19), or for those with the virus, you can claim SSP from the first day of sickness. You must be eligible for SSP. More information can be found here.
Over 75s license fee
Changes to the free license fee for over 75s have been delayed until 1st August 2020. More information can be found here.
Considerate buying of supermarket products
Many supermarkets have introduced limits to certain items, including Aldi. Iceland are encouraging store managers to dedicate the first 2 hours of opening to the vulnerable and those with disabilities.
The Government is looking for organisations to support in the supply of ventilators and ventilator components.
Members of Parliament are now triaging these offers through the BEIS Business Support helpline on 0300 456 3565. A specific team receiving these calls will be on hand to assist. For more information please visit here.
Over the coming days, we will be adding details of trusted organisations in Cheadle Hulme who have committed to help those affected by coronavirus and/or self-isolation.