News & Events

Major new measures to protect people at highest risk from Coronavirus

Last Reviewed 20/03/2020

By Jayne Spink

England

New measures have been announced for those considered to be extremely vulnerable due to their medical conditions, including a helpline for those most in need of support.

A new Local Support System will make sure those individuals self-isolating at home and who are without a support network of friends and family will receive basic groceries. Community pharmacies will support those who need help getting their medicines delivered.

People identified as belonging to one or more of the at-risk groups will be contacted by their GP practice, specialist or both strongly advising them to stay at home for a period of at least 12 weeks. If you are contacted it is vitally important for your own protection, that you don’t attend any gatherings of friends or families and don’t go out for shopping, leisure or travel.

Further Information

  • A link to the guidance can be found here.

You’ll be able to register for a new service if you or someone you care for is extremely vulnerable to coronavirus and needs support.

The service will be ready over the week beginning 23 March 2020. You’ll be able to register from this page:

If you’re finding it hard to cope with feelings of tension and anxiety due to coronavirus complete the Every Mind Matters quiz and get your personalised mental health action plan nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/.

For full guidance on Covid-19 visit nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.

Wales

There is advice from the Welsh Government on social distancing measures to limit social interaction between people in order to reduce the transmission of Covid-19. People at increased risk of severe illness from Covid-19 are advised to be particularly stringent in following these measures.Full advice about who is most at risk and how best to practice social distancing can be found here.

Guidance has also been published by Welsh Government with further information about shielding and protecting people defined as extremely vulnerable on medical grounds from COVID-19.

First Minister Mark Drakeford has launched a new campaign about how to help people who are staying at home because of coronavirus. ‘Looking Out for Each Other‘ provides practical guidance about how everyday tasks can be done safely, without physical contact to minimise the risk of contracting Covid-19. It also shares information about how to stay mentally and physically active.

A new online hub includes a ‘helping hand’ card, which can be downloaded and put through the letterboxes of neighbours to offer help to those who are isolating.

Further information about employment rights, benefits, business support, travel, food, retail, cancellations, education and more can be found here.

Scotland

In Scotland, Public Health advice regarding Covid-19 can be found on the NHS Inform website. There is some brief, specific advice for carers, pregnant woman and those who have a condition or are taking medicines to suppress immunity under ‘common questions‘. There is also advice on social distancing for those considered vulnerable.

For those that do not have symptoms but are looking for general information, there is a free helpline (0800 028 2816) which is open from 8:00 – 22:00 each day.

The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, announced ‘shielding’ measures to protect the most most clinically vulnerable in her speech on 22 March 2020. The First Minister said for this group, the guidance on isolation would be strict and that they would receive help with their conditions, access to medicine and services and food and supplies from GPs and local resilience partnerships.

Breathing Space is a free and confidential phoneline service for any individual who is experiencing low mood or depression. They can be contacted on 0800 83 85 87.

NHS Living Life is a free and confidential telephone counselling service based on a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy approach. The service is available to anyone over the age of 16 suffering low mood, mild to moderate depression and/or anxiety. The service can be accessed by referral from a GP and you can phone the service directly on 0800 328 9655.

Northern Ireland

Advice for people living in Northern Ireland can be found on the Public Health Agency website and also via NI Direct.

Home testing kits

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, announced on 25  March 2020, that home testing kits for Covid-19 would be available within days. The tests would allow people to see if they currently have Covid-19, or have had it, and will be available to buy from pharmacies and online. We will provide more information on these tests, as and when we receive updates.

Mental health

Samaritans offers confidential, emotional support, on the telephone or online, to anyone who is feeling distress or despair. You do not have to be feeling suicidal to contact Samaritans. Their helpline is 116 123 (free from landlines and mobiles – Monday to Sunday 24 hours a day).

Get in touch

We are monitoring the information on Covid-19 closely and will provide further updates as and when we have them. If you have a specific question or issues that you would like us to take into account please mail [email protected]. Please note that our office is closed and our phone lines are not currently being monitored, the best way to contact us is via email.

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