COVID-19: Latest updated information on the coronavirus

In light of the current global health concern, we believe it’s essential that we share what we’re doing to protect our carers and patients from COVID-19 as well as the latest government information and advice.

Updated: 25 March 2020

As of 24 March 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a 3-week nationwide lockdown. The single most important action we can all take to fight the coronavirus is to stay at home. Doing so will protect the NHS and save lives.

The only reasons to leave home include:

  • Going to the shop for necessities like food and medication
  • To travel to work when you absolutely cannot work from home
  • To perform one exercise per day, alone or with members of your household

Please note: you must not go out to meet others, not even friends or family.

Understandably, this level of social distancing can have a negative impact on many people’s mental health. Every Mind Matters has released professional advice and tips for managing your mental wellbeing during these difficult times. It also includes guidance for those feeling worried or anxious about the COVID-19 outbreak.

Please visit for more information:

What is COVID-19?

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was identified in Wuhan, China, in late 2019. Since then, it has spread across the globe infecting many countries including Italy, Iran, South Korea, the USA and the UK. By 30 January 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced the outbreak as a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” (PHEIC).

COVID-19 is an illness that affects your lungs and airways. Symptoms include:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Shortness of breath

In some cases, the coronavirus can cause people to become severely ill.

Who is likely to be most affected by COVID-19?

People of all ages can be infected with the coronavirus. According to the NHS, older people and people with pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes, asthma and heart disease are more prone to becoming severely ill.

In these severe cases, the coronavirus infection cause pneumonia, kidney failure and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV). Unfortunately, people have passed away due to severe cases.

Information regarding the spread of COVID-19

This virus is spread in large droplets by coughing and sneezing. These droplets can land on anyone in the vicinity or on surfaces and can be inhaled or picked up on hands and transferred when a person touches their face. All surfaces where these droplets land is infectious for about a week on average, however, that depends on a few factors such as:

  • Exposure to cleaning products
  • Exposure to sunlight
  • Differences in humidity and temperature
  • The type of surface the coronavirus is on

Please note that face masks are not effective in preventing someone from catching the virus. If you do prefer to wear facemasks, make sure they’re worn correctly, removed properly, changed frequently and disposed of safely in a closed bin.

To reduce your risk of catching the coronavirus, make sure you:

  • Carry tissues with you and use them to catch any cough or sneeze. Immediately bin the tissue and wash your hands or use a sanitiser hand gel.
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds each time. It helps if you sing ‘happy birthday’ twice round. Wash your hands when you:
    • go home or enter work
    • eat or handle food
    • cough, sneeze or blow your nose
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • Avoid touching your mouth, eyes and nose with unwashed hands

What Better Healthcare is doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19

We understand that this new illness is a significant concern for everyone; the population is increasingly concerned about who they come into contact with and how to remain safe. We also recognise that there are some people still in need of home care or live-in care support and healthcare organisations in need of staff during any shortages.

To set your mind at ease, we thought it prudent to let you (our readers) know the steps Better Healthcare is taking to manage the current and ongoing situation.

  • We are supporting all staff to keep in their cars protective equipment that may be necessary in the course of their work.
  • We are looking at our business continuity plan to ensure that we can provide care to those who need it most in the event of staff becoming unwell or needing to self-isolate and other emergencies.
  • We have recirculated our infection control policy to staff along with government guidelines (as well as sensible precautions) for social care settings that we are following and which we expect all staff to adhere to thoroughly.

For those who already use our services:

  • Please do request carers put on aprons if you notice they are not. This is paramount in reducing the spread of infection. We will be bringing gloves and aprons into your homes and leaving them to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. If you could make available a small ‘carers corner’ for these to be stored, we would be grateful.
  • Please could you also be sure you have a plentiful supply of liquid soap and kitchen towel for handwashing and drying as well as a disinfectant for any cleaning that may be required.
  • Please note: Soap bars hold bacteria and should not be used.

Please let us know immediately if you or a family member/ friend regularly see anybody who has travelled to one of the highlighted affected global areas. You can find out the affected areas in the latest WHO situation report.

Latest guidance issues for adult social care providers

On 17 March 2020, the government tightened its advice around COVID-19 with specific reference to people over 70 years old. All over 70s are strongly encouraged to commit to social distancing and self-isolation. All unnecessary social contact should be avoided.

Better Healthcare understands how challenging this can be. We all have a vulnerable loved one that we would want to visit to provide companionship and make sure they’re doing OK. However, social distancing and self-isolation are necessary actions in order to keep our loved ones safe.

But, what does social distancing really mean? We share three examples of social distancing and alternatives for communicating with loved ones.

Avoid face-to-face contact: Instead of visiting your loved ones in person, use technology to keep in contact with them. Social media platforms, phone calls and video call platforms (such as Skype and Apple’s FaceTime) are reliable tools for communication.

Avoid public spaces: Public places and gatherings like pubs, bars, restaurants, theatres, markets and religious gatherings (like church services or prayers at a mosque) should be avoided for now. Please wait until the government announces when it’s safe to recommence going to public places and gatherings.

Refrain from going to your GP or nearest hospital: If you or a loved one begin to show the signs and symptoms of the coronavirus, please isolate yourselves. Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services. Call 111 in the event of prolonged or worsening symptoms.

On 13 March 2020, the Department of Health and Social Care issued new guidance to care providers as the government works on delaying the spread of COVID-19. The guidance is designed to ensure people who receive care are well supported; it covers situations where care is delivered in people’s homes and in residential care settings.

The guidance outlines the following:

  • How to maintain a reliable and sufficient delivery of care in the event of an outbreak or widespread transmission of COVID-19
  • What to do if care workers or patients have symptoms of COVID-19

Click the following links for separate guidance for the following types of provision:

Rest assured, Better Healthcare will be following the guidance issued by the Department of Health and Social Care.

To our care workers and staff, the vital work you do in supporting vulnerable people in our society is recognised and hugely appreciated, and we will do all we can to support you at this extremely difficult time. Thank you.

Additional information on COVID-19

If you or someone you know believes themselves to be at risk of infection, the following steps should be taken:

  • Self-isolation for 14 days.
  • Do not attend A&E or GP.
  • Call 111 and get the correct advice.
  • Be aware of and follow WHO/UK Government advice only.

Here are links to updated guidance on social distancing, and also on infection, prevention and control:

If you would like to know more about COVID-19, you can rely on these sources:

If you have any further questions, please call us on 0800 668 1234 or contact one of our local offices.

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