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Coronavirus

This section of our website is dedicated to compiling resources and information of the many different aspects of supporting our members and community through the coronavirus health crisis. It will be updated regularly. Please scroll down for sections on mental health, funding and finance questions and tips for working from home.

Travelling to and from Ireland

  • In accordance with the Irish Government statements of 20 December and 30 December, travel to Ireland from Britain is currently permitted only if you are transiting Great Britain en route to Ireland, or if you are an Irish citizen or long–term Irish resident who needs to return to Ireland for compassionate or emergency reasons. These people will be advised to self–isolate for 14 days upon their return to Ireland.
  • From 9 January 2021, any passengers arriving into Ireland whose journey originated in Britain are required to have a negative / not detected result from a pre–departure Covid–19 PCR test taken within 72 hours before their arrive in Ireland. 
  • Travellers arriving in Ireland (excluding Northern Ireland) from Britain must restrict their movements for 2 weeks. Travellers from Britain are advised to avoid all non–essential travel. See DFA guidance here.
  • There is no restriction for travellers from Northern Ireland to Ireland and vice versa. 
  • Those in tier 5 areas in England are not permitted to travel abroad apart from limited exceptions.
  • If you are travelling to Ireland during the pandemic, please consult the Irish government’s advice page

How to protect yourself and others

  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Maintain social distancing of 2 metres.
  • A face–covering, like a mask, is mandatory on public transport in England and Scotland. Children under 5 are exempt in Scotland. Children under 11 and people with certain health conditions are exempt in England. Face masks are compulsory in shops in Scotland and England.
  • Work from home if you can.

Lockdowns and social gathering rules

England is under a national lockdown from 4 January. You must:

  • stay at home – unless you have to go to work, or to provide voluntary or charitable services
  • exercise outside only once a day
  • Not meet anyone outside your household or support bubble outside. 
  • Full guidance available here.

You must stay at home as much as possible in Scotland, full details available here.

You must stay at home in Wales and not meet people outside your household, details here.

Vulnerable groups

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable living in England, you should stay at home at all times, unless for exercise or medical appointments, and not attend work. Read further guidance here.

If you are over 60 or clinically vulnerable (e.g. with an underlying condition), you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. you should minimise contact with others, practice strict social distancing with those outside your household and wash your hands frequently.

The shielding guidance page is available here.

Vaccinations

Covid–19 vaccines are currently being offered first to:

  • People aged 80 and over
  • People who live or work in care homes
  • Health and social care workers at high risk

The NHS will let you know when it’s your turn to get the vaccine. 

Testing

Anyone who has the symptoms of coronavirus (Covid–19) can ask for a free test to check if they have the virus. This is called an antigen test. There is another test to check if you have already had the virus – an antibody test – but this is not yet widely available.

Read more about how to get a test on the NHS website

Advice on avoiding contact with the coronavirus infection (COVID–19)

DO:

  • 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 immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • avoid contact with people who have symptoms of coronavirus
  • work from home if you can
  • only travel on public transport if you absolutely have to, such as going to work, providing care or help for a vulnerable person, or for medical reasons
  • use phone, online services, or apps to contact your GP surgery or other NHS services
  • maintain social distance of two metres
  • follow the regional lockdown guidance above.

 DON’T:

  • touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

There are two main routes by which people can spread the virus:

  • Infection can be spread to people who are nearby (within two metres) or inhaled through lungs
  • Coming into contact with a surface or object touched by an infected person through respiratory secretions and then touching mouth, nose or eyes. 

Under most circumstances, the amount of infected virus on any contaminated surface is likely to have decreased significantly by 72 hours.

The following symptoms may develop after exposure to someone who has the coronavirus:

  • A new continuous cough
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Fever/high temperature 
  • Loss of sense of smell or taste

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 seven days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

Statutory Sick Pay will be paid from day one instead of day four for those affected by the coronavirus.

You can consult the government advice on decontamination for objects and surfaces that have come into contact with someone showing the symptoms of the virus.

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Tips on working from home

In light of Public Health England recommendations on working from home, Irish in Britain has compiled some tips to help make your experience as positive and productive as possible.

Read more