Current UK Risk Level: HIGH

The risk to the UK has been raised to high (as of 13/03/2020).

As of 13 Mar, UK is in the ‘delay’ phase of the government’s action plan to limit the spread of the virus.


Current Situation (19/03/20)



  • As of 9am on 19 March 2020, 64,621 people have been tested in the UK, of which 61,352 were confirmed negative and 3,269 were confirmed positive. As of 1pm 144 patients in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) have died.
  • In Suffolk we have 13 confirmed cases. However, with routine community testing discontinued, these figures will not describe the full extent of cases locally.
  • PM statement on coronavirus: 19 March 2020
    • Stresses again to stay at home if you/your family have symptoms, avoiding unnecessary contact, working from home, washing hands
    • The government expects to “turn the tide” within the next 12 weeks
    • UK experts and scientists expect to start trials for the first vaccine within a month
    • The government is in negotiations to buy a so called antibody test - as simple as a pregnancy test that could tell whether you have had the disease. This would be a gamechanger as once you know that you have had it, you know that you are likely to be less vulnerable, you’re less likely to pass it on, and you can go back to work.
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19): maintaining educational provision  - schools will closed from Fri 20 Mar afternoon, except for children of key workers and vulnerable children
    • Vulnerable children include children who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans.
    • Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response include (see guidance for full detail) those who work in health and social care, education and childcare, key public services (justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting), Local and national government (only those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits), Food and other necessary goods, Public safety and national security, Transport, Utilities, communication and financial services
  • £2.9 billion funding to strengthen care for the vulnerable of which £1.6 billion will go to local authorities to help them respond to other coronavirus (COVID-19) pressures across all the services they deliver. This includes increasing support for the adult social care workforce and for services helping the most vulnerable, including homeless people.
  • The Defence Secretary announces new measures to put service personnel and Reservists on standby to support public services in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Online isolation notes launched - providing proof of coronavirus absence from work - people unable to work for more than seven days because of coronavirus (COVID-19) can obtain an isolation note through a new online service.
  • In the news - Letters are being sent to more than 65,000 retired doctors and nurses in England and Wales asking them to return to the NHS to help tackle the outbreak.
  • In the news - Train operators will gradually reduce services from Monday




  • Communities: The Collaborative Communities COVID-19 Board, which is made up of county, district and borough councils, plus other partners, is looking to launch an advice and support system that can link organisations needing help with a willing bank of volunteers. More details to follow shortly.  


  • Suffolk Public Health: Keeping well and looking after your mental health. Following the latest government guidance, many people in Suffolk will be self-isolating and/or working from home. While these measures are necessary, they will mean a significant change of routine and can create stress and feelings of anxiety which is why it is important to look after your mental wellbeing in the coming weeks.


The five ways to wellbeing is a really useful framework, with practical ideas to support improved mental health. Here are five tips for staying mentally well:

  1. Connect with others

Take time to call a friend or family member. It’s important to stay in touch with others however you do it, and sometimes simply talking about how you feel can make a big difference. If you have a friend or neighbour who may need support or a listening ear, spare some time to talk to them.

  1. Be active 
    Being physically active can have a real benefit to your mental health. If you are not self-isolating, try building in a walk or other exercise during the day. If you are indoors, take regular screen breaks and stretch at least once every hour.
  2. Learn
    Take the opportunity to think about learning a new skill or pick up something you have enjoyed doing before. Always wanted to read that book, or learn that language? Now is the time. More classes and courses are also available online now than ever before.      
  3. Take notice
    It’s all too easy to become immersed in the constant, and ever-changing media coverage surrounding coronavirus (COVID-19). Take a break from watching, listening or reading news stories and use the time for the things you enjoy. Techniques such as mindfulness can be helpful.
  4. Give
    Giving your time and energy to others is extremely important, never more so than now, and can pay dividends for your mental wellbeing. Whether it’s looking out for and helping a neighbour, or registering to volunteer to offer support in your community, there is plenty you can do. The ‘Home, but not alone’ campaign is one such example, run in partnership between the East Anglian Daily Times, Suffolk County Council, Community Action Suffolk, Suffolk Community Foundation and the Suffolk Association of Local Councils.

For more information and support, visit the following trusted sources:



  • Schools:


Suffolk County Council is working with partners across the sector to coordinate a response to the government’s announcement on Wednesday 18 March 2020 to close schools for the majority of pupils while remaining open for those whose parents are critical workers or are defined as vulnerable. It is acknowledged by all that this an unprecedented and challenging situation and we are working together to find the best solutions for all pupils, especially the most vulnerable.


The government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend. The fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society. If a child needs specialist support,  is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker and who cannot be safely looked after at home so that the parent can work, then educational provision will be available for them in Suffolk.


National guidance and list of key workers can be found here:


School Travel. We have confirmed that we will continue to pay bus operators in full for the next 3 months on current contracts* to create some stability during this very unpredictable time. *if a contract is due to expire in the next 3 months operators will be contacted.  If notice is given during the next 3 months on any current contract, payment will cease in line with standard terms and conditions


With some schools still open we will still be required to provide transport for these students.  The schools will be contacting us directly to advise which students will be attending school, and their locations. This is a very fluid situation and we will provide updates on this.  For stability on Monday, school routes will run as normal, except for those schools which are already fully closed.  This may continue past Monday until we have information from schools as to which pupils are continuing to attend.


In return for our reassurance of continued payment over the next 3 months, we may look to seek support from operators to help us provide transport as required.  This will mean we will ask them to modify routes, meaning some may not run at all or some may be extended to meet the requirements, maybe at different times of the day.


As part of flexibility, instead of undertaking school travel, we may also seek operators support on other initiatives that may help support the most vulnerable residents in our society but in line with public health national guidance such as:-

  • Picking up patients that have been discharged from hospital to take them to a care home
  • Collecting medication in a local community for delivery
  • Dropping off emergency food parcels to vulnerable families as identified by the local authority


We will communicate further about this in due course.



The Suffolk Chamber of Commerce is happy to offer help and advice to any Suffolk business that has questions or concerns in these challenging times. It doesn’t matter if your business is a Chamber member or not. Visit the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce website to find lots of information for businesses.

New Anglia LEP Forum. Get free business support and advice during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis from qualified advisers. It's a challenging time and information is changing very quickly. Find latest business-related guidance or visit Call 0300 333 6536 to speak to a qualified adviser.

HMRC now have a helpline for any businesses concerned about paying their tax due to coronavirus (COVID19). Find information online from HMRC on GOV.UK Call 0800 0159 559.

  • Bus travel: Elderly and disabled residents can use their concessionary bus passes earlier during coronavirus outbreak. Suffolk County Council is allowing concessionary travel for those with elderly and disabled bus passes early in the morning (before 9.30am) as the coronavirus epidemic continues. The local authority working alongside its partners and bus companies, has revealed that it is extending its concessionary travel for those with elderly and disabled bus passes as supermarkets make special arrangements for exclusive early morning shopping times for these people. It comes as supermarket chains Sainsbury’s and Iceland decided to open for two hours just so elderly and vulnerable people can shop during the coronavirus outbreak. This move has been introduced in response to panic buying in the shops which saw shelves emptied.
  • Suffolk Libraries will be closing the county’s library buildings to the public for the foreseeable future from today (Friday 20 March). The mobile library service will also be suspended. Suffolk Libraries is now working on developing ways of providing services to people in different ways and will share details in the near future. More details can be found here:
  • Suffolk Parent Career Network have issued advice for families on COVID-19 which is available here:


  • Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service has created a webpage to provide fire safety advice and support for schools, businesses and homeworkers.


Useful Websites (any new guidance is in RED)

The existing guidance is being updated extremely regularly (and in some cases daily) so please check any guidance relevant to your area to ensure that you are accessing the most up to date version. I will only be able to highlight newly published guidance in this bulletin.




Who For/Notes



COVID-19: ethical framework for adult social care

adult social care


Closure of educational settings: information for parents and carers

Parents and carers


Coronavirus (COVID-19): maintaining educational provision

schools, colleges and local authorities


Coronavirus (COVID-19): hospital discharge service requirements

health and care systems and providers


COVID-19: free school meals guidance

schools and local authorities


Coronavirus bill: summary of impacts


Mental health support and advice

General public, staff and carers


Chronic disease self- care

General public


COVID-19: guidance on social distancing and for vulnerable people

Guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK and protecting older people and vulnerable people.


Added translated versions.


COVID-19: guidance for employees, employers and businesses

for employees, employers and businesses


Added details about how to access evidence for work absence.

Eligibility and access to schemes: details added


COVID-19: residential care, supported living and home care guidance

Providers of residential care, supported living, and home care


Added information on implications of household isolation guidance for residential care, supported living and home care settings.



COVID-19: guidance for staff in the transport sector

Staff in the transport sector


Added guidance poster.


COVID-19: guidance for educational settings

schools and other educational setting


Added guidance poster.



General Public – this is the only site we should be promoting to the public for information


NHS 111

General Public – For people to use incl a symptom checker


PHE UK Dashboard

UK Dashboard of cases and deaths


Gov.UK – Central public resource

Main cover webpage for all government guidance for public & professionals alike


PHE Health Matters

Post on General FAQs that include a section to submit questions at the bottom of the page.


PHE Campaign Resource Centre

Range of comms resources that can be used

7 - Health Professionals Guidance


Central location for health guidance

8 - Non health Specific Guidance


Guidance decontamination in non-healthcare settings

9 - Infection Prevention and Control guidance

For health and social care professionals or others



COVID-19 guidance for mass gatherings

Guidance and advice for those arranging or planning to attend events in the UK.


COVID-19 industry guidance

  • educational settings such as schools or universities
  • prisons, immigration centres and other places of detention
  • shipping and sea ports
  • transport hubs including airports and train stations
  • hostels and day centres (rough sleepers)


Coronavirus (COVID-19): immigration guidance

for individuals affected by travel restrictions associated with coronavirus


Coronavirus bill: what it will do


Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for local government

Local councils


Stay at home: guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection

General public


Travel advice: coronavirus (COVID-19)

General public travelling and living overseas


COVID-19: investigation and initial clinical management of possible cases




Global – WHO Situation Report

  • WHO RISK ASSESSMENT (Global Level) - Very High
  • WHO Corvid-19 Dashboard for professionals using near real time data.
  • The number of confirmed cases worldwide has exceeded 200,000. It took over three months to reach the first 100,000 confirmed cases, and only 12 days to reach the next 100,000.

Situation in Numbers WHO SitRep 59, 19 Mar  (new since last 24hrs)





209 839 confirmed (16 556)

8778 deaths (828)

Western Pacific Region

92 333 confirmed (488)

3377 deaths (20)

European Region

87 108 confirmed (10 221)

4084 deaths (591)

South-East Asia

657 confirmed (119)

23 deaths (14)

Eastern Mediterranean Region

19 518 confirmed (1430)

1161 deaths (150)

Regions of the Americas

9144 confirmed (4166)

119 deaths (50)

African Region

367 confirmed (132)

7 deaths (3)





Cllr Gordon Jones

Cabinet member for Finance & Resources

Samford Division

Tel. 01206 262799

Mbl. 07879 117526

IPhone 07860 208760