Coronavirus Information

Updated 29th May 2020, 08:35. For the latest medical advice, visit NHS.uk/Coronavirus.

This page has been designed to provide up-to-date information, guidance and advice with regards to Coronavirus (COVID-19).

If you need medical help, please use the 111 online coronavirus service.

Please click here for the Government's stay at home advice and here for more general information.

Updated guidance on the Job Retention Scheme can be found herehttps://www.marcolonghi.org.uk/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme  

Government unlocks £150 million from dormant accounts for coronavirus response

The Culture Secretary has announced that £150 million from dormant bank and building society accounts is to be unlocked to help charities, social enterprises and vulnerable individuals during the coronavirus outbreak.

This includes accelerating the release of £71 million of new funds from dormant accounts alongside £79 million already unlocked that will be repurposed to help charities’ coronavirus response and recovery.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-unlocks-150-million-from-dormant-accounts-for-coronavirus-response?utm_source=ce9c8f8d-eaec-4d16-b06f-d1f52ae8d3de&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=weekly

Opening schools and educational settings to more pupils from 1 June: guidance for parents and carers

These are very challenging times for our country. Measures put in place to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been hard for us all, but have kept people safe and saved lives. Keeping people safe continues to be the government’s priority.

Since 23 March, in line with the scientific advice, nurseries, schools and colleges have remained open to a priority group of children and young people, children of critical workers and vulnerable children. We have been clear that we would review this arrangement in line with scientific advice. We are now past the peak of the virus and the Prime Minister has set out a recovery strategy, while also ensuring that safety remains our absolute priority. This means it is time to begin the phased return of children and young people to nurseries, schools and colleges in a way that is measured, reduces risks and is guided by science.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/reopening-schools-and-other-educational-settings-from-1-june 

Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can't do

The government has set out its plan to return life to as near normal as we can, for as many people as we can, as quickly and fairly as possible in order to safeguard livelihoods, but in a way that is safe and continues to protect our NHS.

The government has published staying safe outside your home for guidance on what the new rules will mean. These will take effect on Wednesday. This page sets out key FAQ to inform the public and help you prepare for these changes.

This guidance applies in England – people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should follow the specific rules in those parts of the UK.

https://protect-eu.mimecast.com/s/ej7BCNL3qipnZxOhm7pq6?domain=gov.uk 

 

Testing available 

Today the Government announced that anyone in England with coronavirus symptoms who either must go to work or is over 65 can now be tested.

Further information on accessing the service is available here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Apply for a test here: https://self-referral.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/test-type
 

Bounce Back Loans Scheme

The Chancellor has announced a new Bounce Back Loans Scheme to ensure that businesses get the financial support they need quickly, to help them survive this crisis.

  • The Government’s emergency measures, including business grants, tax deferrals, and the job retention scheme, are already helping hundreds of thousands of small businesses weather the impact of coronavirus – but many need cash injections to keep operating.
     
  • Our new Bounce Back Loan Scheme enables small businesses to borrow up to £50,000 and access the cash within days. They are easy to apply for and the Government provides a 100 per cent guarantee for the loan to lenders.
     
  • This will offer additional protection to small firms, helping them get the finance they need so they can keep operating, protect jobs and incomes, and get through this crisis.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/small-businesses-boosted-by-bounce-back-loans 

Scams

Fraudsters are taking advantage of the package of measures announced by the Government to support people and businesses affected by coronavirus. Scammers text, email or phone taxpayers offering spurious financial support or tax refunds, sometimes threatening them with arrest if they don’t immediately pay fictitious tax owed.

We have published information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact, how to avoid and report scams and examples of phishing emails and bogus HMRC contact on GOV.UK. You should forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk and texts to 60599. If you think they have fallen victim to a scam, you should contact yourr bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud

 

Reporting Fraud

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is part of a collective national effort to protect jobs. The money has come from UK taxpayers and you can play a vital role in making sure it isn’t abused. Fraudulent claims take money from the NHS and limit our ability to support people’s livelihoods.

If your're concerned that someone is abusing the scheme they should report them here on GOV.UK.

This could include employers claiming on their behalf and not paying them what they are entitled to, being asking to do work while on furlough, or making a backdated claim that includes times when they were working.

 

HMRC Guidance on the SEISS scheme

Find out how HMRC will work out your income and profits if you're self-employed or a member of a partnership in the UK and have lost profits due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-hmrc-works-out-total-income-and-trading-profits-for-the-self-employment-income-support-scheme

Claim a grant through the coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme. Use this scheme if you're self-employed or a member of a partnership in the UK and have lost income due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme

Get coronavirus support as a clinically extremely vulnerable person

If you have a medical condition which makes you extremely vulnerable to coronavirus (COVID-19), register and tell us whether or not you need support.

You may have received a letter from the NHS telling you that you’re clinically extremely vulnerable, or been contacted by your GP or hospital clinician. If this has not happened, contact your GP or clinician after you register with this service.

It may take time for any support offered through this service to arrive. Wherever possible you should continue to rely on friends, family and wider support to help you meet your needs.

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable

 

Coronavirus: advice for employers and employees

The Chancellor has today made additional announcements to support firms affected by the coronavirus crisis by bolstering business interruption loans for small businesses and announcing a new scheme for larger companies.  

·         The current loan scheme will be extended so more small businesses can benefit

·         Lenders will be banned from requesting personal guarantees on loans under £250,000

·         A new scheme is announced to bolster support for larger firms not currently eligible for loans

For further detail, please see the link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-strengthens-support-on-offer-for-business-as-first-government-backed-loans-reach-firms-in-need

The Government is supporting businesses and their employees through a package of measures during this period of unprecedented disruption. This website helps you find the right support, advice and information to help with the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19) on your business. The Government is doing its best to stand behind businesses and is asking businesses to do their best to stand behind their workers.

For all business inquiry's please visit this dedicated website. 

https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk  

Please note, ACAS has created a dedicated webpage for employers and employees with regards to the coronavirus.

https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus 

Local Business Support 

Please find details of the Black Country Chamber’s efforts to support businesses through the covid-19 pandemic below:

 

The Chamber has launched its business support webpage https://www.blackcountrychamber.co.uk/campaigns-projects/covid19-business-support/ which provides briefing papers, signposting to external agencies and support for businesses.

 

They have also launched our dedicated business support line on 01902 912 322 available Mon – Fri 9-5

 

They are also encouraging businesses in the Black Country to follow us on social media @BCCCMembers to ensure they stay up to date with the latest information.

PPE Equipment update 

We have delivered 170 million FFP3 masks, surgical masks and other PPE equipment: 

  • 23 million surgical face masks 
  • 42.8 million gloves 
  • 13.7 million aprons 
  • 182,000 gowns 
  • Almost 10 million items of cleaning equipment 
  • 2.3 million pairs of eye protectors 

Every single GP practice, dental practice, and community pharmacy has had a PPE delivery. All care homes, hospices, and home care providers have, or will shortly have, a delivery.

*NEW* CORONAVIRUS JOB RETENTION SCHEME

Any large or small employer can apply to put workers on temporary leave or “furloughed” status. The government will then pay them cash grants of 80 per cent of their wages up to a cap of £2,500, providing they keep the worker employed.

They will receive the grant from HMRC. All UK organisations can self-certify that it has furloughed employees. The scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1. All UK-wide employers with a PAYE scheme will be eligible, including the public sector, local authorities and charities.

The scheme will be open initially for at least 3 months. But we will extend it for longer if necessary. There is no limit on the amount of funding available for the scheme.

We expect the first grants to be paid within weeks. HMRC are working night and day to get the scheme up and running and we’re aiming to get it done before the end of April. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.

https://www.marcolonghi.org.uk/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme  

Please click below for guidance on the following:

  • the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF)
  • the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF)

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/875348/small-business-grant-fund-and-retail-guidance-v2.pdf

MOT

From 30 March 2020, MOT due dates for cars, motorcycles and light vans will be extended by 6 months. This is being done to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-mots-for-cars-vans-and-motorcycles-due-from-30-march-2020 

 

Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives

Stay at home

You must stay at home, only leaving for the following very limited purposes:

• Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible.

• One form of exercise a day – for example, a run, walk or cycle – alone or with members of your immediate household.

• Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.

• Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.

 

Protect the NHS

You must stay at home to protect the NHS:

• The NHS only has a limited number of doctors, nurses and specialist equipment.

• We are working around the clock to increase NHS capacity.

• The more people who get sick, the harder it is for the NHS to cope.

• We must slow the spread of the disease so that fewer people are sick at any one time.

 

Save lives

You must stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives:

• Police will disperse gatherings of more than two people in public, excluding people you live with.

• Police will issue fines to anyone who does not comply with these rules.

• Police will close all shops that are not essential, as well as playgrounds and places of worship.

WAGES & SELF EMPLOYED

Restaurants, bars, leisure centres, cinemas, gyms have been asked to close.

Government will help to support people’s wages. Any employer small or large charitable or not profit can apply to have Government pay up to 80% of salaries up to £2500 a month. That way employers can keep people on. This will be backdated to March 1st and will last at least 3months & be updated as necessary.

We expect the first grants to be paid within weeks.

The Business Interruption Loan Scheme will be available on Monday and interest rate free now for 12 months.

Deferring the next quarter of VAT payments up to June - you will have to the end of the year to pay those bills.

We are increasing the UC Standard Allowance by £1000 a year and the working tax credit of £1000 to help our most vulnerable households.

We are suspending minimum income floor for UC so self employed people can also access. And we are deferring self assessment payments until January 2021.

We stand with the British people.
 

WHAT TO DO IF YOU SHOW SYMPTOMS OF CORONAVIRUS?

Stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  • a new, continuous cough – this means you've started coughing repeatedly

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.

Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you're staying at home. Only dial 111 if your symptoms worsen. The vast majority of people will suffer mild symptoms for a few days and will fully recover quickly.

HOW LONG TO STAY AT HOME

  • if you have symptoms, stay at home for 7 days
  • if you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms

If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.

If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.

Read our advice about staying at home.

IF YOU’RE GENERALLY HEALTHY AND DO NOT SHOW SYMPTOMS 

Everyone should do what they can to stop coronavirus spreading.

It is particularly important for people who:

  • are 70 or over

  • have a long-term condition

  • are pregnant

  • have a weakened immune system

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

✔️ avoid close contact with people who have symptoms of coronavirus

✔️ only travel on public transport if you need to

✔️ work from home, if you can

✔️ avoid social activities, such as going to pubs, restaurants, theatres and cinemas

✔️ avoid events with large groups of people

✔️ use phone, online services, or apps to contact your GP surgery or other NHS services

Do NOT:

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

❌ do not have visitors to your home, including friends and family

 

Potential Covid-19 temporary register

The Government will be introducing emergency legislation that will allow us to create a Covid-19 temporary register.

This means we would be able to temporarily register fit, proper and suitably experienced people, so that they could practise if they wanted to and felt able to do so.

This legislation is expected to be ready towards the end of March.

Who could join this register

In the first instance, we would only open the Covid-19 temporary register to nursing and midwifery professionals who left our register within the last three years.

  • You won’t need to have practised for a minimum number of hours in the last three years
  • You won’t need to pay a registration fee
  • You will need to comply with the Code and work within your scope of practice.

If you decide to join the Covid-19 temporary register, you can change your mind at any time and tell us that you wish to opt out.

Your health and wellbeing

Consider your health and wellbeing, and that of those around you, and whether you feel comfortable returning to work. You may want to refer to the Government’s latest advice when making your decision.

We will rely on you making an assessment of your own health and character, which may be confirmed by any prospective employer.

How to join this register

If you left our register within the last three years, we will send you an email on Friday 20 March 2020 inviting you to join the Covid-19 temporary register.

Please wait to see if you receive an email from us and check your junk or spam folder.

If you do not receive an email from us within 24 hours, the contact details we have for you may be out of date.

Use the link below to let us know you want to join the Covid-19 temporary register:

https://r1.dotdigital-pages.com/p/129A-FXN/emergency-register-opt-in-start-process 

Managing pressures on the food supply chain

• We know people are concerned about pressures on the food supply chain during this difficult time.  
 
• We are working closely with representatives across the food supply chain, together with local authorities and charities, to ensure that those who need to stay at home will have continued access to food, and we have already made changes so that supermarkets can replenish their shelves more quickly. 
 
• Together with the food industry, we will do everything we can to rise to the challenge ahead and ensure food stocks keep flowing and people can access the groceries they need.  
 
We are doing this by: 
 
• Working closely with the retail industry to establish any additional support they may need. The Environment Secretary is speaking regularly with industry, including the British Retail Consortium, to determine what additional support the Government can provide. Under discussion are additional measures to support the continued flow of groceries into our shops and steps to ensure people staying at home can get the food and groceries they need. 
 
• Issuing guidance to help supermarkets keep the supply of food flowing. We have issued guidance to local authorities advising them to extend the hours that deliveries can be made to supermarkets and other food retailers, making it easier for shelves to be replenished and to help the industry respond to Covid19.26 
 
• Announcing a temporary relaxation of the rules governing delivery drivers’ hours. The Transport Secretary has authorised a temporary relaxation of the rules on drivers’ hours, so they can continue to help deliver vital goods to shops across the country, while also continuing to be mindful of driver welfare. 
 
• Closely monitoring the resilience of food retailers’ supply chains. UK retailers already have highly resilient supply chains, and they are working around the clock to ensure people can access the products they need. Food supply into the UK has continued, and we are monitoring the situation very closely to ensure this continues and will provide an update if anything changes. 
 

Renters Reform

The Government has announced a radical package of measures to protect renters and landlords affected by COVID-19. No renter in either social or private accommodation will be forced out of their home during this difficult time. We are bringing forward emergency legislation as an urgent priority so that landlords will not be able to start proceedings to evict tenants for at least a three-month period.As a result of these measures, no renters in private or social accommodation needs to be concerned about the threat of eviction.There will be a moratorium on all new evictions and clear guidance has been issued stating that existing eviction processes should be dealt with appropriately, prioritising the safety and health of citizens across the country.

To support this announcement the government has worked with the Master of the Rolls to widen the ‘pre-action protocol’ on possession proceedings, to include private renters and to strengthen its remit. This will support the necessary engagement between landlords and tenants to resolve disputes and landlords will have to reach out to tenants to understand the financial position they are in.

Recognising the additional pressures the virus may put on landlords, we have also confirmed that the three-month mortgage payment holiday announced previously will be extended to landlords whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulties due to coronavirus.This will alleviate the pressure on landlords, who will be concerned about meeting mortgage payments themselves, and will mean no unnecessary pressure is put on their tenants as a result.

 

How to access government financial support if you or your business has been affected by COVID-19

On 17 March, the Chancellor announced an unprecedented package of government-backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses, making available an initial £330bn of guarantees – equivalent to 15% of GDP.  
 
This was on top of a series of measures announced at Budget 2020, the government announced £30 billion of additional support for public services, individuals and businesses experiencing financial difficulties because of COVID-19, including a new £5 billion COVID-19 Response Fund, to provide any extra resources needed by the NHS and other public services to tackle the virus. 
 
The government will take new legal powers in the COVID-19 Bill, enabling it to offer whatever further financial support it thinks necessary to support businesses. 

If you are a small- or medium-sized business, you may be entitled to reclaim the costs of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for sickness absence due to COVID-19: 
 
• This refund will cover up to two weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who are either ill or been told to self-isolate because of COVID-19. This is in line with the recommended isolation period. Guidance on self-isolation can be found here: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronaviruscovid-19
 
• Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible. The size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020. 
 
• Employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19. 
 
• Employers should maintain records of staff absences, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. 
 
• The eligible period for the scheme began on 13 March. 
 
• The government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible. Existing systems are not designed to facilitate employer refunds for SSP. 
 
Some businesses, including nurseries, in England will be eligible for a Business Rates holiday for 1 year from 1 April 2020: 
 
• If you are currently receiving the retail discount for your Business Rates bill, you will receive a revised bill with 100% relief shortly. 
 
• If your business occupies a property in the retail sector with a rateable value of £51,000 or more, or if your business occupies a property in the leisure or hospitality sectors you may also be eligible for the 100% discount on your business rates bill. 
 
• You will shortly hear from your Local Authority. If you have any questions, you should contact your Local Authority. 
 
• If you are a nursery, you will be entitled to the 100% relief for the next year. You should contact your Local Authority for more information.  
 
• Guidance for Local Authorities will be published by MHCLG by 20 March. 
 
If your business is eligible for small business rate relief or rural rate relief in England, you are entitled to a one-off cash grant of £10,000: 
 
• If your business is in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector in England, then you may also be entitled to a cash grant. If you have a property with a rateable value of less than £15,000 then you will be entitled to a grant of £10,000, whether or not you are entitled to small business rate relief or rural rate relief. If you have a property with a rateable value of between £14,999 and £51,000 then you will be entitled to a cash grant of £25,000.  

 
• The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will provide guidance for Local Authorities on how to administer these grants shortly. 
 
• If you are an eligible business, your Local Authority will then be in touch in the coming weeks to provide details of how to claim this money. 
 
If your small-or medium-sized business in England is facing cash flow issues as a result of COIVD-19, please read the following information: 
 
• A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will launch at the start of next week to support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts.  
 
• The government will provide lenders with a partial guarantee of 80% on each loan to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs.  
 
• The government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the Scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value. The first 6 months of these loans will be interest free, as the Government will cover these payments.  
 
• Businesses will be able to get finance under the scheme from a large number of providers, including the main high street banks, as of next week. 
 
• Businesses will remain responsible for repaying any facility they take out.  
 
• For further information, please visit: https://www.british-businessbank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils
 
If you are a large business facing cash flow issues as a result of COIVD-19, you may want to read the following information: 
 
• Companies commonly sell short term debt (‘commercial paper’) to the market. This is a quick and cost effective to raise working capital.  
 
• The new COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility means that the Bank of England will buy short term debt from companies. 
 
• This will support companies which are fundamentally strong, but have been affected by a short-term funding squeeze, enabling them to continue financing their short-term liabilities. It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms. 
 
• Further details can be found here in the exchange of letters between the Governor of the Bank of England and the Chancellor, found here:  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/launch-of-covid-19-corporate-financingfacility-ccff

If you are self-employed or own a business and you are concerned about not being able to pay your tax bills because of COVID-19, you may be eligible for support through Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) Time to Pay service: 

 
• If you think you or your business is eligible for support through Time to Pay, you can call the following helpline number to get practical help and advice: 0800 0159 559. 
 
• These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.  
 
• For more information, please check the HMRC site here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/tax-helpline-to-support-businesses-affected-bycoronavirus-covid-19
 
If you own a pub that serves food or a restaurant in England, you will be able to operate a hot food takeaway to serve people staying at home, without going through the usual planning process: 
 
• The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) will shortly legislate to bring forward a temporary Permitted Development Right to allow for change of use from A3 (Restaurant) and A4 (Pub) to A5 (Hot Food Takeaway). 
 
• The intention is that once the legislation has come into force a pub or restaurant will be able to notify their Local Authority that they are now operating as a takeaway without any prior approval.  
 
If you contract your services to large- or medium-sized organisations outside of the public sector you should read the following information: 
 
• The government announced on 17 March that the reform to the off-payroll working rules (commonly known as IR35) - that would have applied for people contracting their services to large or medium-sized organisations outside the public sector - will be delayed for one year from 6 April 2020 until 6 April 2021. 
 
• Business and individuals do not need to take any action. 
 
If the only barrier to your business making an insurance claim was a lack of clarity on whether  the government advising people to stay away from businesses, rather than ordering businesses to shut down, was sufficient to make a claim on business interruption insurance: 
 
• The government’s medical advice of 16 March is sufficient to enable those businesses which have an insurance policy that covers both pandemics and government ordered closure to make a claim - provided all other terms and conditions in their policy are met. Businesses should check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers if in doubt. 
 
• However, most businesses have not purchased insurance that covers pandemic related losses. As such, any affected businesses should note the government’s full package of support, including the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and business rates holiday. 

Can you help in the national effort to manufacture ventilators?

Are you a manufacturer who could help make ventilators? We need a national effort to combat Coronavirus and help piroshki's NHS. 

If you can help, call the BEIS Business Support line - 0300 456 3565

UK National abroad?

 

 

UK national abroad? Need help from the Foreign Office - you can call here: (+44) 207 008 1500 for assistance and advice - or the embassy in that country

If you're worried about personal income?

 

  • Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will now be available for eligible individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 or those who are unable to work because they are self-isolating in line with Government advice. This is in addition to the change announced by the Prime Minister that SSP will be payable from day 1 instead of day 4 for affected individuals.

  • People who are advised to self-isolate for COVID-19 will soon be able to obtain an alternative to the fit note to cover this by contacting NHS 111, rather than visiting a doctor. This can be used by employees where their employers require evidence. Further details will be confirmed shortly.

  • Those who are not eligible for SSP, for example the self-employed or people earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week, can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit or Contributory Employment and Support Allowance.

  • For the duration of the outbreak, the requirements of the Universal Credit Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed for those who have COVID-19 or are self-isolating according to government advice, ensuring self-employed claimants will receive support. People will be able to claim Universal Credit and access advance payments upfront without the current requirement to attend a job centre if they are advised to self isolate.

  • Contributory Employment and Support Allowance will be payable, at a rate of £73.10 a week if you are over 25, for eligible people affected by COVID-19 or self isolating in line with advice from Day 1 of sickness, rather than Day 8.

  • The Government has announced a new £500 million Hardship Fund so Local Authorities can support economically vulnerable people and households. The government expects most of this funding to be used to provide more council tax relief, either through existing Local Council Tax Support schemes, or through similar measures. MHCLG will set out more detail on this funding, including allocations, shortly.

  • Working with the banks and lenders, a three month mortgage holiday to ensure people’s homes are protected through this economically challenging time.

 

 

Coronavirus information 

19/03/2020

The Prime Minister has announced new measures to combat coronavirus, including closing schools until further notice to help slow the spread of the disease.

  • Previously the scientific advice was that we should keep schools open, but this has always been a balanced judgement and kept under constant review.
     
  • Now the advice has been updated and we will close schools for the vast majority of pupils from Friday until further notice. In order to allow health and other critical workers to continue working, their children, and those who are vulnerable, will continue to be able to attend school. 
     
  • Closing schools for the vast majority of pupils will help in our efforts to suppress the upward trend of the virus, as will continuing to look after the children of key workers who will be a critical part of our fightback against coronavirus.

Today, the Government will publish the Emergency Coronavirus Bill – which will protect life and the nation’s public health and ensure NHS and social care staff are supported to deal with significant extra pressure.

  • The measures in the Bill are temporary, proportionate to the threat, will only be used when strictly necessary and will be in place for as long as required to respond to the situation. The Bill will be introduced to Parliament today and scrutinised by MPs. 
     
  • Measures include allowing recently retired NHS staff and social workers to return to work without any negative repercussions to their pensions. Paperwork and administrative requirements will be reduced to help doctors discharge patients more quickly when appropriate, to free up hospital space.
     
  • Volunteers will have extra employment safeguards – benefiting more than 3 million people who already volunteer in health and care settings and bolstering the NHS’s capacity to respond to the virus.
     
  • Changes to councils’ duties under the Care Act will enable them to prioritise people with the greatest care needs and make the best use of the adult social care workforce. 
     
  • By planning for the worst and working for the best we will get through this, but this is a national effort and we must all work together ‒ from businesses prioritising the welfare of their employees, to people thoroughly washing their hands.

We are supporting renters and landlords who may be impacted by coronavirus – so that everyone gets the support they need at this very difficult time. 

  • No one who has been impacted by coronavirus should have to worry about getting back on their feet – no renter who has lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home, nor will any landlord face unmanageable debts.
     
  • These are extraordinary times and renters and landlords alike are of course worried about paying their rent and mortgage. Which is why we are urgently introducing emergency legislation to protect tenants in social and private accommodation from an eviction process being started, and  extending the three month mortgage payment holiday to landlords whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulties due to coronavirus. 
     
  • These measures will protect all renters and private landlords ensuring everyone gets the support they needs at this very difficult time. 

Moving forward with our plan:

  • Now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact with others and to stop all unnecessary travel.
     
  • We need people to start working from home where they possibly can, and you should avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other social venues.
     
  • This advice is particularly important for people over 70, for pregnant women and for those with some health conditions.
     
  • If you, or anyone in your household, has either a high temperature or a new and continuous cough, then you should stay at home for fourteen days.
     
  • That means that if possible you should not go out even to buy food or essentials, other than for exercise, and in that case at a safe distance from others. If necessary, you should ask for help from others for your daily necessities. And if that is not possible, then you should do what you can to limit your social contact when you leave the house to get supplies.
     
  • The Government will no longer be supporting mass gatherings with emergency workers as it normally would.

 

18/03/2020

The Government has published the details of measures in the Emergency Coronavirus Bill – which will protect life and the nation’s public health and ensure NHS and social care staff are supported to deal with significant extra pressure.

  • The measures in the Bill are temporary, proportionate to the threat, will only be used when strictly necessary and will be in place for as long as required to respond to the situation. The Bill will be introduced to Parliament tomorrow and scrutinised by MPs. 
     
  • Measures include allowing recently retired NHS staff and social workers to return to work without any negative repercussions to their pensions. Paperwork and administrative requirements will be reduced to help doctors discharge patients more quickly when appropriate, to free up hospital space.
     
  • Volunteers will have extra employment safeguards – benefiting more than 3 million people who already volunteer in health and care settings and bolstering the NHS’s capacity to respond to the virus.
     
  • Changes to councils’ duties under the Care Act will enable them to prioritise people with the greatest care needs and make the best use of the adult social care workforce.
     
  • By planning for the worst and working for the best we will get through this, but this is a national effort and we must all work together ‒ from businesses prioritising the welfare of their employees, to people thoroughly washing their hands.

Further action we are taking: 

  • Yesterday, the Chancellor announced an unprecedented package of government-backed loans and guarantees to support business.
     
  • We will stand behind businesses small and large – providing a £330 billion package of loans and guarantees – equivalent to 15 per cent of our GDP.
     
  • We will help all businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors – meaning that none of these companies will have to pay business rates whatsoever for 12 months – a tax cut worth nearly £20 billion. We will also increase grants for the smallest businesses from £3,000 to £10,000.
     
  • For those in difficulty due to coronavirus, we are introducing a three month mortgage holiday – so that people will not have to pay a penny towards their mortgage while they get back on their feet.
     
  • The biggest fixed cost that many families face is their rent payment and it is right that we have regard to that. The Housing Secretary will in the coming days will be making a statement with further measures to protect renters through these difficult times.
     
  • Yesterday, the Communities Secretary announced a temporary relaxation of planning rules – so that pubs and restaurants can operate as hot food takeaways to serve people having to stay at home.

Moving forward with our plan:

  • Now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact with others and to stop all unnecessary travel.
     
  • We need people to start working from home where they possibly can, and you should avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other social venues.
     
  • This advice is particularly important for people over 70, for pregnant women and for those with some health conditions.
     
  • If you, or anyone in your household, has either a high temperature or a new and continuous cough, then you should stay at home for fourteen days.
     
  • That means that if possible you should not go out even to buy food or essentials, other than for exercise, and in that case at a safe distance from others. If necessary, you should ask for help from others for your daily necessities. And if that is not possible, then you should do what you can to limit your social contact when you leave the house to get supplies.
     
  • The Government will no longer be supporting mass gatherings with emergency workers as it normally would.

 

17/03/2020

On 16th March, the Prime Minister chaired COBR and updated the British people on the Government’s ongoing response to Covid-19. Later today the Chancellor will set out further steps.

  • The Government’s overriding aim is to save lives and minimise suffering – we will be led by  the best scientific advice.
     
  • Now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact with others and to stop all unnecessary travel. This advice is particularly important for people over 70, for pregnancy women and for those with some health conditions.
     
  • Combating this virus will require a huge national effort. We must do all we can to save lives, protect the NHS and keep the most vulnerable people in our society safe.

Moving forward with our plan:

  • Now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact with others and to stop all unnecessary travel.
     
  • We need people to start working from home where they possibly can, and you should avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other social venues.
     
  • This advice is particularly important for people over 70, for pregnant women and for those with some health conditions.
     
  • If you, or anyone in your household, has either a high temperature or a new and continuous cough, then you should stay at home for fourteen days.
     
  • That means that if possible you should not go out even to buy food or essentials, other than for exercise, and in that case at a safe distance from others. If necessary, you should ask for help from others for your daily necessities. And if that is not possible, then you should do what you can to limit your social contact when you leave the house to get supplies.
     
  • From today, the Government will no longer be supporting mass gatherings with emergency workers as it normally would.

We are at the forefront of the effort to back business, to back our economy and to make sure that we get through this.

Further action we are taking: 

  • Last night, the Prime Minister spoke to leading manufacturing businesses to call on them to help the UK step up production of vital medical equipment, ensuring our NHS has it what needs to provide care to patients.
     
  • The Prime Minister released joint statement with the other leaders of G7 nations, committing to coordinating the global health response to coronavirus, and continuing to protect jobs, restore confidence and encourage science and research cooperation. 
     
  • The Local Government Secretary reaffirmed our commitment to giving councils the support they need to contribute to the national effort, including giving them more flexibility to focus their resources on the response to coronavirus. 
     
  • The Devolved Administration will receive at least £1.5 billion from the UK Government to make sure they have the resources they need to support people and businesses through Covid-19. 
     
  • We are keeping people up to date with the latest advice and guidance with the launch of the next phase of our public information campaign, which will reinforce the importance of washing your hands more often and for 20 seconds, and ask people to self-isolate for 7 days If they develop a high temperature or a new continuous cough.

Translated documents avaliable

Doctors of the World has released Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for patients in 20 languages, which were produced in partnership with the British Red Cross, Migrant Help and Clear Voice.

The guidance is based on the government’s updated advice and health information.

https://www.doctorsoftheworld.org.uk/coronavirus-information/#

For the latest medical advice, always visit: 

nhs.uk/Coronavirus

 

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