Updated: May 22, 2020
I'm very much aware of the plethora of information that is circulating at the moment. However, I just came across a useful, well-researched and somewhat lengthy document entitled 'OUR PLAN TO REBUILD: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy'.
Placing the political innuendo within the document, aside, I thought to share some information with my readers, that will hopefully provide guidance as we continue to navigate this new landscape. It may not be anything totally new, but it is good to have one go-to resource.
Any guidelines are, necessarily, evolving and may become obsolete in the face of further research, which is taking place daily.
"The guidelines will be based on sound evidence - from what has worked elsewhere in the world, and the best available scientific theory."
Individuals should keep their distance from people outside their household, wherever possible.
Transmission is affected by both duration and proximity of contact; individuals should not be too close to other people for more than a short amount of time. Public Health England recommends trying to keep two metres away from people as a precaution.
It remains essential to keep hands and face as clean as possible. People should wash their hands often, using soap and water, and dry them thoroughly. Touching of the face should be avoided.
Hand sanitiser should be carried when travelling and applied where available outside the home, especially when entering a building and following contact with surfaces. Clothes should also be washed regularly, as there is some evidence that the virus can stay on fabrics.
It is possible to reduce the risks of transmission in the workplace by limiting the number of people that any given individual comes into contact with regularly. Employers can support this where practical by changing shift patterns and rotas to keep smaller, contained teams.
Evidence also suggests the virus is less likely to be transmitted in well-ventilated areas.
Keep your distance from people outside your household, recognising this will not always be possible. The risk of infection increases the closer you are to another person with the virus and the amount of time you spend in close contact: you are very unlikely to be infected if you walk past another person in the street.
Public Health England recommends trying to keep 2 metres away from people as a precaution. However, this is not a rule and the science is complex. The key thing is to not be too close to people for more than a short amount of time, as much as you can.
Work from home if you can. Many people can do most or all of their work from home, with the proper equipment and adjustments. Your employer should support you to find reasonable adjustments to do this. However, not all jobs can be done from home. If your workplace is open and you cannot work from home, you can travel to work.
Avoid being face to face with people if they are outside your household. You are at higher risk of being directly exposed to respiratory droplets released by someone talking or coughing when you are within 2 metres of someone and have face-to-face contact with them. You can lower the risk of infection if you stay side-to-side rather than facing people.
Reduce the number of people you spend time with in a work setting where you can. You can lower the risks of transmission in the workplace by reducing the number of people you come into contact with regularly, which your employer can support where practical by changing shift patterns and rotas to match you with the same team each time and splitting people into smaller, contained teams.
Avoid crowds. You can lower the risks of transmission by reducing the number of people you come into close contact with, so avoid peak travel times on public transport where possible, for example.
Businesses should take reasonable steps to avoid people being gathered together, for example by allowing the use of more entrances and exits and staggering entry and exit where possible.
If you have to travel (to work or school, for example) think about how and when you travel.
To reduce demand on the public transport network, you should walk or cycle wherever possible. If you have to use public transport, you should try and avoid peak times.
Employers should consider staggering working hours and expanding bicycle storage facilities, changing facilities and car parking to help.
Wash your clothes regularly. There is some evidence that the virus can stay on fabrics for a few days, although usually it is shorter, so if you are working with people outside your household wash your clothes regularly.
Keep indoor places well ventilated. Evidence suggests that the virus is less likely to be passed on in well-ventilated buildings and outdoors. In good weather, try to leave windows and doors open in places where people from different households come into contact – or move activity outdoors if you can.
If you can, wear a face covering in an enclosed space where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet. This is most relevant for short periods indoors in crowded areas, for example on public transport or in some shops.
The evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you, but it may protect others if you are infected but have not developed symptoms. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (cough and/or high temperature) you and your household should isolate at home: wearing a face covering does not change this.
A face covering is not the same as the surgical masks or respirators used as part of personal protective equipment by healthcare and other workers.
Face coverings should not be used by children under the age of 2 or those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly, for example primary school age children unassisted, or those with respiratory conditions.
It is important to use face coverings properly and wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off.