Hygiene Guidelines for people providing neighbourhood support

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We want to emphasise that our aim as community organisations should be to prevent as many infections happening as possible, and – where this isn’t possible – to reduce the number of cases that need serious hospital care.

This is challenging because Covid-19/coronavirus is very infectious. It’s transmitted through droplets and contact with contaminated surfaces. For example, someone who has the virus sneezes, and then touches a door handle, or a supermarket self checkout, or a bank ATM. You use it afterwards and accidentally touch your face in between hand washing.

You might catch the virus, and have a very mild case with few/no symptoms, but still be a carrier. Kids in particular are at low risk, but might spread the virus.

In short: anyone could be infected with the virus, and could be spreading it while having no symptoms or very few symptoms, but you still be a carrier (asymptomatic).

It’s great that we have a so many members who want to offer support. Thanks so much for your concern and willingness to help.

The best way we can help is by helping safely, and following health advice to reduce transmission.

Please take the time to read the tips below.

They have been approved by medical professionals, and “will be updated continuously and rapidly and with the approval and oversight of qualified medical professionals, until the pandemic is over, whereupon they can be safely ignored”.

We will endeavour to ensure the information copied below is kept up to date, but if in doubt – see the website at: for the most up to date version:

  1. People doing support work should be as unlikely to be infected as is possible. (1, 2,3)
  2. If people are infected, they should have as low a chance of passing on the infection as is possible. Systems should be designed on the assumption that anyone may be infected.(1,4)
  3. If someone is infected and shows symptoms, it should be easy to trace all contact they have had with at risk people. They should cease doing support work immediately(2,3,4)
  4. The minimum number of people should be able to have direct or indirect contact with at risk people, to reduce their exposure. (1,2,3)
  5. All meetings should be done digitally, where possible. Where people have to meet, they should have minimal contact.(1,2,3)
  6. Hand washing should be done frequently, and always done following touching the face, or using public transportation. (5,8)
  7. Wearing gloves should be done while handling all items which may be given to people who are immunocompromised and while in proximity to anyone infected. (5,8)
  8. All items given to someone at risk must be disinfected on all surfaces that will be handled by them. (2,3)
  9. Public transport used by as few people as possible, as infrequently as possible. Public transport should be avoided where possible, and disinfection must be carried out after items are taken on public transport. (1, 6)
  10. Masks should be worn wherever possible, by both people doing support, and people needing support. If in short supply, medical masks should be reserved for situations where people will be in close physical proximity, and cloth used as a substitute in other scenarios.(5)
  11. To ensure people feel safe and secure in asking for help, data must not be shared beyond support groups (e.g. with private companies, political parties or with councils, the NHS or the police) without that person’s express consent. (10, GDPR)
  12. Support should be provided without needing to have someones data shared with another organisation (such as a private company, political party, a council, the NHS or the police). (10)

[On their website, each policy item includes a bracketed list of the relevant principles which are also worth reading.]

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