WHAT'S NEW - COVID-19 Update and Guidance

COVID-19 Coronavirus Update and Guidance

Last updated 08.30am - Friday 27th March 2020


Confirmed cases now sit above 533,416 with over 24,000 deaths recorded Globally; US now has most cases in the world reporting US 85,991 (1195 died). China latest 81,782 (Hubei 3,169 died), Italy 80,589 (8,215 died),  Spain 57,786 (4,365 died), Germany 43,938 (267 died), France 29,566 (1,696 died), Iran 29,406 (2,234 died).

In UK a total of 104,866 have been tested. 93,208 negative and 11,658 testing positive. 578 patients who tested positive have died, an increase of 100 deaths in last 24hrs. (Source John Hopkins CSSE and UK Gov).

Highlights - Global

  • Number of confirmed cases globally has passed 530,000
  • US surpasses China for highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the world
  • The next big wave of US infections is likely headed for Louisiana
  • Mainland China reported its first locally transmitted coronavirus infection in three days
  • China will bar entry of almost all foreigners and reduce flights to the country to head off potential second wave
  • South Africa records first deaths from coronavirus
  • South Africa came under a nationwide military-patrolled lockdown today
  • Returning travellers to Australia will be quarantined in hotels and other accommodation for 14 days on arrival
Highlights - UK
  • The number of coronavirus deaths in the UK has jumped by more than 100 in a day for the first time
  • People around the UK have taken part in a "Clap for Carers" tribute, saluting NHS and care workers dealing with the coronavirus pandemic
  • The UK government has urged homebuyers to avoid moving house during the coronavirus outbreak
  • Self-employed workers can apply for a grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits to help them cope with the financial impact of coronavirus

The Risk to the UK remains High.

New UK Government measures aimed at protecting people from the coronavirus outbreak are now being enforced. This includes: 

  • Police in England to be given powers to enforce stay-at-home rules
  • New powers to be given will mean no-one in England will be allowed to leave their home "without reasonable excuse"
  • Similar rules are expected to be announced within days for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

The latest Government advice is here.   

As it stands, everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus. This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.

Staying at home to stop coronavirus spreading.

Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

You should only leave the house for 1 of 4 reasons:

  • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
  • any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home
IMPORTANT - These 4 reasons are exceptions, even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household.

Self-isolation helps stop coronavirus spreading.

Do not leave your home if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or live with someone who does.

This is called self-isolation.

If you are self-isolating, you must:

  • not leave your home for any reason, other than to exercise once a day – but stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people
  • not go out to buy food or collect medicine – order them by phone or online, or ask someone else to drop them off at your home
  • not have visitors, such as friends and family, in your home

You can use your garden, if you have one.

You must remain at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

Use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.  111 Online

Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital

In Scotland call your GP or NHS 24 on 111 out of hours

In Wales call 111 (if available in your area) or 0845 46 47

Workplace Preparations for COVID-19

The UK Government have issued a very useful guide to preparing your workplace for COVID-19. Read it here.

Our Guidance to clients

First Option advice to productions, events or other activities considering whether they should continue or not; 

It is for each organisation to make their own decisions on these issues, but our advice is that unless a production, event or other activity is genuinely essential to the efforts to manage the current crisis, it should be cancelled or postponed

  • Strictly adhere to the Government advice
  • Routinely monitor for developments and key changes to advice
  • Ensure all essential productions are properly risk assessed and authorised
  • Consider the use of a production specific infection control risk assessment annex
  • Re-consider the need for essential travel. If you must travel, carry first line (to hand) PPE including protective face masks (FFP3/N95 spec), eye protection and disposable nitrile gloves for use in crowded places. Carry and frequently use alcohol-based sanitising hand gel (99.99% effectiveness)
  • Use appropriate and sized, fitted and tested respiratory protective equipment (RPE). HSE Guidance - Fit testing face masks to avoid transmission: coronavirus (COVID-19) can be found here
  • Please contact our safety store for availability of protective equipment including masks, gloves, eye-protection and sanitizer

For further questions on COVID-19, seek help here: Common Questions - Coronavirus (COVID-19)