Jon Cruddas MP has been contacted by a number of concerned residents regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) over the last week, and he has advised constituents to follow the official guidance issued by the UK Government, NHS, and local councils highlighted below. It is also advised to regularly check back with official information sources for any changes as this situation develops.

Jon commented: "I have been inundated with emails and phone calls regarding the Coronavirus, with many residents not sure what sources of information to trust and how best to protect against infection. I am encouraging my constituents to follow official guidance from health professionals and have advised against ‘panic buying' from local shops – which if anything leaves some of our most vulnerable residents at a disadvantage, forcing them to travel further for everyday items such as toilet paper."

As of today (12.03.20) Barking and Dagenham have three confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and Havering has reported two people affected. In order to best protect yourself and others from the virus, it is advised to:

    • - Wash hands frequently using soap and water for at least 20 seconds
    • - Cover nose and mouth with tissue while coughing or sneezing. Dispose of the tissue immediately
    • - Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth
    • - Maintain social distancing: keep a 1 metre distance from those displaying symptoms of the virus. Avoid shaking hands—a wave or a nod is suggested.
    • - Avoid travel to countries experiencing outbreaks of COVID-19

Symptoms of the Coronavirus include: fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing.

If you have been experiencing symptoms:

    • - Stay home if feeling unwell
    • - Call 111—it is advised to not attend a GP surgery, pharmacy, or hospital. Call 999 if it is an emergency.
    • - If recently traveled to an affected area within 14 days (Categories 1 and 2 specified counties, see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-specified-countries-and-areas), self-isolate at home. If it is essential to go out, wear a mask to avoid infecting others.
    • - ONLY wear a mask if you are ill with COVID-19 symptoms or looking after someone who is affected. A disposable face mask can only be used once, please use masks only when necessary.

Barking and Dagenham and Havering Councils recommend using the website below to check your symptoms and receive assistance:

https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19

For Schools, Educators, and Students: The UK Government recommends that schools remind students and staff to wash their hands frequently, to urge young people to tell a member of staff if feeling unwell, and that people who feel unwell should stay home and not attend school, work, or a childcare setting. People who are returning to the school or workplace after visiting a Category 1 or 2 specified area/country are to self-isolate for 14 days. All other students and staff should remain in attendance at school. (http://bit.ly/GOVUK-GuidanceForSchools)

Regarding receiving packages and food, it is not necessary to avoid collecting post from the affected areas, as the virus is unlikely to spread through parcels.