31 March 2020
Vision UK is following current guidance from the government on Coronavirus (COVID-19) based on the World Health Organization’s declaration that this is a pandemic, a public health emergency of international concern. As of 9am on 30 March 2020, a total of 134,946 people have been tested, of which 112,805 were confirmed negative and 22,141 were confirmed positive. As of 5pm on 29 March 2020, 1,408 patients in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) have died.
The UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the UK to High.
Governmental Advice is to stay at home
• Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
• Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
• Wash your hands as soon as you get home
You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms. Those people should, if possible, avoid leaving the house “even to buy food or essentials” – but they may leave the house “for exercise and, in that case, at a safe distance from others”.
Based on this advice Vision UK is has moved meetings online, teleconference or rescheduled them. We are consulting and collaborating with our members and associates on policies, ongoing support and lobbying government(s).
We’ve come together with Guide Dogs, the Thomas Pocklington Trust, RNIB and Visionary to share information and advice FAQs on and around Coronavirus (COVID-19) which will be frequently updated: https://www.sightadvicefaq.org.uk/independent-living/Covid-19
Joint letter to Rt Hon George Eustice MP on adding people with Visual Impairment to groups to ensure that they have priority access to buy goods online
Public Health England and others have produced useful guidance about coronavirus (COVID-19) for health professionals and other organisations.
Welsh Government further guidance on the provision of urgent and essential eye care and financial support during the additional COVID-19 social distancing measures
Northern Ireland Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for those in the optometry profession.
Scottish Government: Information and resources regarding novel coronavirus (COVID-19) for all community optometry practices and practice staff in Scotland.
Royal College of Ophthalmologists: update and resources for ophthalmologists
College of Optometrists Updates:
General Optical Council (COVID 19) Latest information
OFNC advice to all optical practices and practitioners in England on coronavirus
ADASS: Social care provider resilience during COVID-19: guidance to commissioners
Local Government Association information for councils on COVID-19.
The LGA is liaising with Public Health England (PHE), the Department for Health and Social Care and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government regarding the evolving situation with the outbreak of the coronavirus. Local authority Directors of Public Health are in close contact with PHE. https://www.local.gov.uk/coronavirus-information-councils
BASW A hub of information to support social workers on COVID 19
NICE: COVID-19 guidelines:
World Health Organisation: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pandemic
The Charity Commission: Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for the charity sector
ACEVO chief executive Vicky Browning on how charity leaders can support the #EveryDayCounts campaign.
Members statements and information are also included in the News Section of the Vision UK website https://www.visionuk.org.uk/category/news/
Advice for anyone in any setting is to follow these main guidelines.
• The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of a new continuous cough and/or high temperature. If you have these symptoms, however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started. You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.
• Wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds using soap and hot water, particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose, or after being in public areas where other people are doing so. Use hand sanitiser if that’s all you have access to.
• To reduce the spread of germs when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or your sleeve (not your hands) if you don’t have a tissue, and throw the tissue in a bin immediately. Then wash your hands or use a hand sanitising gel.
• Clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces using your regular cleaning products to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people.
• Stay at home