Updated: Sep 16
Following the news that cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have now been confirmed in Newcastle and Sunderland, it’s important we all take steps to prevent the spread of the illness and support our staff and clients through any concerns. We’re also finalising our contingency plans to ensure the smooth running of our services will continue in the event that official advice means disruption would be likely.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is the name for what we've come to know as coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a group of viruses common across the world, and COVID-19 is a new strain, first identified in Wuhan in China in January this year.
Symptoms, which present around 14 days after coming into contact with the illness, include a cough, high temperature and shortness of breath.
If you experience these symptoms and become worried, call NHS 111 or go to the NHS 111 coronavirus advice website. Do not go to your GP or visit other healthcare environments. Full Fact has generated a fact check page to help dispel any false information about the virus.
Preventing the spread
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice over) or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser, particularly after using public transport.
Supporting those experiencing discrimination
Members of some communities are experiencing acts of racism, discrimination and verbal abuse with the outbreak of the virus. Stop Hate UK is providing anyone experiencing or witnessing such discrimination with a confidential 24-hour third-party reporting service
.Support for other groups
Diabetes UK has an information page for people living with diabetes.
Asthma UK has a blog post with advice for people with asthma.
The British Heart Foundation has published guidance for people with health problems.
The National Eczema Society has offered advice on handwashing techniques for people with eczema and other skin conditions.
SignHealth has created British Sign Language (BSL) videos to help deaf BSL users either working in charities or receiving support.
Carers UK has produced recommendations for those with caring responsibilities
Housing Justice has issued advice to homeless shelters.
Guidance for fundraisers
The Institute of Fundraising has also collated some information specific to fundraisers.
Stay up to date
Keep up to date with the latest public information and advice regarding the virus at gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public, and for more specific advice for the VCSE sector, here are some more useful resources:
The Small Charities Coalition is monitoring the situation and updates will be posted with the relevant date and time at smallcharities.org.uk/insurance-and-risk.
NCVO has also published some useful information at ncvo.org.uk/practical-support/information/coronavirus.
(Information sourced from VONNE.org.uk)