Updates from the council on coronavirus

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Top five tips to help protect yourself from coronavirus

Published 5th March 2020

Public health chiefs in Sandwell have issued their top five tips to help protect people from coronavirus (COVID-19).

The advice follows directors of public health in the Black Country reassuring members of the public that plans are in place in the event of a coronavirus outbreak in the region.

Councils are working closely with the NHS, Public Health England and other emergency partners to ensure they are fully prepared.

Our top five tips are:

1)    Knowledge is power

One of the best ways we can protect ourselves and our family from coronavirus is to keep updated on the latest information, including travel advice. You can get regular updates from the Government website.  

2)    Keep it clean

Wash your hands frequently, especially before cooking, eating and after using the toilet. Hand sanitisers can help if they are alcohol-based. But the best option is soap and water. Get into a hand washing routine and don’t forget to encourage those around you (especially the little ones) to do the same. If you sneeze or cough, catch it with a tissue, bin it and wash your hands!

3)    Have you been exposed or infected?

Don’t panic or jump to conclusions. If you are worried, visit NHS 111 online and answer the quick questions.
Or you can call 111 and speak to an advisor. They will tell you what to do, including whether you need to self-isolate. Please don’t go along to your GP or hospital unless you are advised to.

4)    Myth busting

Let’s dispel some myths. For example, you really don’t need to avoid handling post or parcels from certain areas of the world. Face masks will not keep us safe from infection (and could even make us less safe if not used correctly). And you really don’t need to panic-buy food or other products.

5)    Look out for others

We’ll beat coronavirus if we act together as a community rather than as individuals.  Can you be the person in your family to make sure others follow the right advice? Can you be the person in your street who checks on older people or those living alone? Simple things can make a big difference.

Sandwell Council Leader Councillor Yvonne Davies said: “We don’t want people to panic – but we understand people have concerns and there is the potential for this to cause major disruption.

“We therefore want to put out some advice for Sandwell people on how best to keep safe day to day.

“We’re really pleased how Sandwell people have responded to the concerns over coronavirus. We have found that people are checking the guidance and taking the right actions if they have any concerns and our five tips will help with this.”

Sandwell’s Director of Public Health Lisa McNally added: “The government and local authorities have planned extensively over the years for an event like this.

“In Sandwell, we have formed a coronavirus resilience group which is meeting regularly and co-ordinates our response across education, adult social care, children’s social care and other key council services. 

“This is linked up with the work being carried out by our NHS partners, as well as to the work of organisations across the wider region.

“We’re widely promoting advice on infection control and on what to do if anyone is concerned they may be infected.”

More advice is available from the NHS and on the council’s website.