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Luton Borough Council

Latest guidance and health advice

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Latest guidance

On 22 September the prime minister announced further national measures to address rising cases of coronavirus in England, including Luton.
 
The new measures are as follows:
  • office workers who can work from home should do so
  • all pubs bars and restaurants must operate table service only and they must close at 10pm, including takeaways
  • extended requirement for face coverings to include staff in retail, all users of taxis and private hires vehicles, and staff and customers indoor hospitality except when seated for food and drink
  • for leisure, retail and tourism venues, guidelines will become legal obligations and those breaching the rules will be fined or closed
  • a maximum of 15 people will be able to attend wedding ceremonies, up to 30 for a funeral
  • the rule of six has been extended to include all adult indoor team sports
  • large scale sporting events and business conferences will not be able to operate from 1 October as originally planned
  • the penalty for failing to wear a mask or breaking the rule of six will double to £200 for first offence

No more than 6  

The rule of 6

The following rules apply for mixing with other people:

  • you must not meet with people from other households socially in groups of more than 6 - this will apply both indoors and outdoors
  • any household or support bubble of more than 6 people will still be allowed to gather together in Luton and throughout England
  • gyms, hospitality venues, restaurants and places of worship that are COVID secure may hold more than 6 people but they cannot mix in groups larger than 6

These rules can be enforced by the police who may issue penalties for anyone not obeying them.

For more information see:

Image showing 6 people from 2 households meeting outside, with a list of things that make up the rule of 6 (as listed in page)

Detailed guidance

Please make sure you read and follow the government’s latest advice and restrictions for staying safe and for meeting others safely. Most importantly, this includes the key advice that you should keep your distance from anyone outside of your household or support bubble and wash your hands regularly.

A person washing their hands, wearing a face covering, sitting two meters apart 

Hands / face / space – simplified guidance

The government has introduced simplified instructions for keeping yourself and others safe.

  • Hands – wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds
  • Face - wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet
  • Space – stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with, where possible

You will also be asked to leave your name and number with certain venues to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Please also see:
The above guidance only applies to those people who are fit and healthy. If you have certain health conditions you should follow the NHS guidance.
 
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Shielding

If you’re considered clinically extremely vulnerable you would have received letters and advised to take extra precautions during the peak of the pandemic. This is known as ‘shielding’.

Those on the shielding list would have received a letter from the government and follow up phone calls from the council to advise that you no longer need to shield from 17 August.
The guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable is that shielding has been paused. This means:
  • you do not need to follow previous shielding advice
  • you can go to work as long as the workplace is Covid-secure, but should carry on working from home wherever possible
  • clinically extremely vulnerable children should attend education settings in line with the wider guidance on reopening of schools and guidance for full opening: special schools and other specialist settings
  • you can go outside as much as you like but you should still try to keep your overall social interactions low
  • you can visit businesses, such as supermarkets, pubs and shops, while keeping 2 metres away from others wherever possible or 1 metre, plus other precautions
  • you should continue to wash your hands carefully and more frequently than usual and that you maintain thorough cleaning of frequently touched areas in your home and/or workspace
  • you will no longer receive free food parcels, medicine deliveries and basic care from the National Shielding Service
For practical tips on staying safe, see the guidance on how to stay safe outside your home.
You will still be able to get:
If transmission of COVID-19 increases​
You could be advised to shield again if the situation changes and there is an increase in the transmission of COVID-19 in the community.
Your name will be kept securely on the shielded patient list by the NHS. The government will write to you if the advice changes.
 
In the event of a local lockdown, please keep an eye on our website and social media channels for further guidance.
 
If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable, you are advised not to enter any area where shielding advice is in place.
Find out more information on shielding
 
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Guidance for people with symptoms of coronavirus - test and trace

The symptoms of coronavirus
What are the symptoms?

The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:
  • new continuous cough and/or
  • high temperature
  • loss of taste or smell
Check the NHS website for more symptoms.

What should I do if I have symptoms?

In order to control the spread of the virus it is important you follow the guidance below if you have symptoms of coronavirus Please follow the four steps below:
  1. Isolate: as soon as you experience coronavirus symptoms, self-isolate for at least 10 days. Anyone else in your household must self-isolate for 14 days from when you started having symptoms
  2. Testbook a test immediately with the NHS or call 119 if you have no internet access. When you order a test, you will get information on the testing options available to you. See government guidance on testing for more information.
  3. Results: if your test is positive, you must complete the remainder of your 10-day self-isolation. Anyone in your household must also complete self-isolation for 14 days from when you started having symptoms. If your test is negative, you and other household members no longer need to self-isolate
  4. Share contacts: if you test positive for coronavirus, the NHS test and trace service will send you a text or email alert or call you with instructions of how to share details of people with whom you have had close, recent contact and places you have visited. It is important that you respond as soon as possible so that appropriate advice can be given to those who need it. You will be told to do this online via a secure website or you will be called by a contract tracer.

For more information see:

If you are in contact with someone who has tested positive

If you are contacted by the NHS test and trace service because you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus you will be alerted by the NHS test and trace service.

The alert will usually come by text, email or phone call. You should then log on to the NHS test and trace website or a trained call handler will talk you through what you must do.

You will be told to begin self-isolation for 14 days from your last contact with the person who has tested positive.

Your household doesn’t need to self-isolate with you, if you do not have symptoms, but they must take extra care to follow the guidance on social distancing and handwashing and avoid contact with you at home.

If you develop symptoms of coronavirus you must book a test and other members of your household must self-isolate immediately at home for 14 days (see above).

Support to self-isolate

As per the latest government regulation, people will be required by law to self-isolate from 28 September, supported by payment of £500 for those on lower incomes who cannot work from home and have lost income as a result.

You can be fined for breaching self-isolation rules starting at £1,000 up to £10,000 for repeat offences and for the most egregious breaches, including for those preventing others from self-isolating. We will update on the eligibility and other criteria as we receive more information from the government.

Protect yourself from test and trace scams

Bedfordshire Police is asking the public to stay vigilant of NHS Test and Trace scams. Genuine contact tracers will never ask you to provide any financial information such as bank details or passwords and PINs.

  • Contact tracers will only call you from the number 0300 013 5000.
  • Anyone who does not wish to talk over the phone can request the NHS Test and Trace service to send an email or text instead, inviting them to log into the web-based service.

The NHS Test and Trace service will never ask you:

  • to dial a premium rate number to speak to them (for example, those starting 09 or 087)
  • to make any form of payment or purchase a product or any kind
  • for any details about your bank account
  • for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts
  • for any passwords or PINs, or ask you to set up any passwords or PINs over the phone
  • to download any software to your PC or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet to anyone else
  • to access any website that does not belong to the government or NHS

For more information see Coronovirus related scams - how to protect yourself.

More information on test and trace

Latest government guidance NHS test and trace: how it works lays out the parameters of test and trace method to control the spread of coronavirus. Also see guidance for contacts of people with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person.
 
NHS antibody testing is currently only available to care home workers in England and Wales. For more information on eligibility.
 
Please see guidance on coronavirus antibody home test kit to help you do your antibody test correctly, post your sample and get your results.
 
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How can you reduce your chances of getting coronavirus?

Regularly wash your hands 

  • Wash your hands often (see more below)
  • Use a tissue for coughs
  • Avoid touching your face
Corona symptoms 

Handwashing guidance

Washing your hands is still the most important thing we can do to stop the spread of coronavirus. Please follow Public Health England advice to:
  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
For the safest and most thorough handwashing method, watch this NHS video.
 
 
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Face coverings

The government has updated its guidance asking people to wear face coverings in places where:
  • it is hard to maintain social distancing measures
  • you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet
You are now required by law to wear a face covering on public transport and in some indoor spaces such as shops, supermarkets and entertainment venues, among others. See a full list here
 
Measures can be taken if people do not comply with this law, you can be denied entry/ service or fined.
However, there are some circumstances where people may not be able to wear a face covering. Please be mindful and respectful of such circumstances, noting that some people are less able to wear face coverings, and that the reasons for this may not be visible to others.
They do not need to be worn:
  • outdoors​, in open spaces
  • while exercising
  • in primary schools and nurseries; some secondary schools and colleges may require them – check with your school for more. See our return to school page for more details
  • in workplaces such as offices
  • by those who may find them difficult to wear, such as children under 11 or those who cannot use them without assistance
  • by or those who may have problems breathing while wearing a face covering such as those suffering with Asthma, see Asthma UK advice
  • for those with disabilities or certain health conditions, such as respiratory or cognitive impairments that make it difficult for them to wear a face covering
  • employees of indoor settings (or people acting on their behalf, such as someone leading part of a prayer service) or transport workers (see section 6) - although employers may consider their use where appropriate and where other mitigations are not in place, in line with COVID-19 secure guidelines
  • police officers and other emergency workers, given that this may interfere with their ability to serve the public
  • where putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
  • if you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate
  • to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others - including if it would negatively impact on your ability to exercise or participate in a strenuous activity
For more information, see the government's following advice on:
You can make face coverings at home, using scarves or other textile items that many will already own.
 
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Where to get medical help

You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you’re staying at home. They won't be testing people who are self-isolating with mild symptoms. 
 
Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:
  • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • your condition gets worse
  • your symptoms do not get better after seven days
Only call NHS 111 if you cannot get help online.
 
The latest online health advice from the NHS can be found using the button below. This includes:
  • stay at home advice including how long to stay at home
  • how to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus​
  • travel advice
  • treatment for coronavirus
See the NHS website for the most up to date medical advice

Coronavirus health checker tool

The NHS is asking people with potential coronavirus symptoms to:
  • complete a new coronavirus status checker
  • answer a short series of questions that will tell the NHS about their experience
This checker will help the NHS coordinate its response and build up additional data on the COVID-19 outbreak.
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© 2020 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ