In light of the serious implications around Coronavirus, we want to share the latest information and guidance with you.
Coronavirus is a viral disease that can cause coughing, fever and difficulty breathing. It can be more severe in older people, those with weakened immune systems and some long-term conditions like diabetes or cancer. Most cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) seem to be mild.
Welsh Government has announced a two week 'firebreak lockdown' to help regain control of coronavirus. This will come in to force at 6pm on Friday 23rd October and remain in place until the start of Monday 9th November.
The restrictions that will be in place during this firebreak lockdown are:
- people must stay at home, except for very limited purposes
- people must not visit other households or meet other people they do not live with
- certain businesses and venues, including bars, restaurants and most shops must close
- secondary schools will provide learning online only for the week after half-term, other than for children in years seven and eight. Primary schools and childcare settings will remain open.
- face coverings continue to be mandatory in the indoor public spaces that remain open (subject to certain exemptions and exceptions), including on public transport and in taxis
If you break these new laws:
- You may be told to go home or removed from where you are and returned home
- You could have to pay a fixed penalty notice of £60. This will rise to £120 for the second breach
- Or you could have criminal proceedings brought against you, and if found guilty, you will have to pay a fine
Even where something may be allowed, Welsh Government ask you not to think about whether it is permitted but whether it is truly necessary and sensible. The purpose of this short lockdown is to create a concerted national effort to do everything we can to stop the spread of Corononavirus, and every individual contribution to that counts.
Welsh Government advise that you should only be outside of your home for very limited reasons, which include:
- the need to obtain supplies and services for you or your household, for example food, medicine, and essential household maintenance. We encourage everyone to make this as infrequently as possible
- to exercise, alone or with members of your household. We encourage this to be done locally
- to access childcare and education
- to access medical services or other public services
- to deposit and withdraw money from a bank or similar establishment
- to provide care for or to help a vulnerable person; this includes getting food or medicines for them
- to help the NHS by donating blood
- for work purposes, or voluntary or charitable purposes, but only where it is not reasonably practicable to do this from home
- to visit a cemetery, burial ground or garden of remembrance to pay your respects
- to attend a wedding, civil partnership or funeral if you are invited
- to attend court or meet other legal obligations
- to escape a risk of illness or injury, such as for victims or people at risk of domestic abuse
- to access services provided to victims of crime or domestic abuse or those at imminent risk of becoming victims.
Whenever you leave home, you should try to minimise time spent outside of the home, and ensure you stay at least 2 metres away from anyone you don’t live with or are in a permitted 'bubble' with.
Public Health Wales (PHW) has advised you should not leave the house for 14 days if you or someone you live with has either:
- a high temperature
- a new, continuous cough
- loss of smell or taste (anosmia)
- Anosmia is the loss or a change in your normal sense of smell. It can also affect your sense of taste as the two are closely linked.
Anyone can spread the virus:
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you're staying at home.
You should only contact 111 if:
- you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
- your condition gets worse
- your symptoms do not get better after 7 days
To reduce the risk of catching or spreading coronavirus, Public Health Wales advises the following:
- 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
- do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
It is worth checking the Public Health Wales website regularly to see if the guidance has changed and whether there are any implications for you, your family or your business.
How to deal with self-isolation on farm
Self-isolation may help keep you physically well, but mental wellbeing is important, and a prolonged period of isolation can have a detrimental effect on mental health.
Here are some ideas to help you deal with self-isolation and help keep you mentally well:
- Eat healthily and avoid constant snacking on sugary and salty snacks.
- Exercise regularly and wherever possible get outside for some fresh air even if it has to be just the garden. If you can’t get outside things like bird watching from the window or tending to house plants can help to add variety to routines and keep minds active.
- Establish and keep to a routine to help get things done and give a sense of achievement having done so.
- Avoid looking at a screen all day whether it is for work or pleasure. Too much blue light from screens can be disruptive to sleep and wellbeing.
- Stay connected. Just because you may be self-isolating does not mean that you have no contact with the outside world. Use the phone, email, Facetime or Skype to keep in regular contact with friends and family. Regular social contact will be good for you but will also benefit whoever you are talking to as well. Keep in touch with neighbouring farms so that you can have the opportunity to talk with people who can relate to the situations and issues you may be facing.
- Limit news intake. The World Health Organisation says: “A near-constant stream of news reports about an outbreak can cause anyone to feel anxious or distressed. Limit news updates to certain times and use trusted sites such as the NHS and Gov.uk to get information and guidance on how to cope with coronavirus.”
- Advice from people who understand farmers and farming is available from the Farm Community Network on 03000 111 999.
It is vitally important that you consider your safety when lone working. Please see the NFU guidance for more information.