Key National Information Sources
With the exception of some islands which are remaining at Level 3, a new lockdown has been introduced across Scotland. The lockdown measures include:
- Stay at home as much as possible. You can still go out for reasonable excuses such as exercise or essential shopping.
- Schools are closed until at least mid-February. They can only open to in-person learning for children of key workers and vulnerable children.
The islands that exempt include: Orkney, Shetland, Western Isles, Coll, Colonsay, Erraid, Gometra, Iona, Islay, Jura, Mull, Oronsay, Tiree, Ulva, and all islands in Highland with the exception of Skye. These areas follow Level 3 guidance, which can be found here.
The national Covid-19 helpline puts people in contact with their local authority. You can call 0800 111 4000 for free. It is open Monday to Friday, 9:00–17:00.
- You can contact Money Talk Team to get help knowing what benefits you might be entitled to and other advice.
- You can apply for Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance. The Scottish Welfare Fund is also available to people in crisis and in need of financial support.
- If you are struggling to pay your gas or electricity bills, Ofgem can offer you advice.
Physical and mental wellbeing:
- You can visit Clear Your Head for practical advice to deal with feelings of uncertainty.
- You can find help online from the Scottish Association of Mental Health.
- You can also talk to someone over the phone with Samaritans (116 123, available 24/7) or Red Cross (0808 196 3651, available everyday 10am – 6pm).
- The Scottish Government has compiled resources to support mental health and wellbeing which can be accessed here.
Shielding and Vulnerable People
Shielding is a measure to protect people who are clinically at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus. The Scottish Government are advising people on the shielding list to stay at home as much as possible. New guidance for people on the shielding list can be found here.
Those in the shielding category will have received a letter from the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland during the week of 4 January
A summary of the advice is as follows:
- Contact with others – Minimise contact with people outside your own household.
- Transport – You should avoid taking public transport.
- Shopping – Strictly follow the guidelines when shopping and limit the number of times you go to a shop. Shop at quieter times.
- School/ formal childcare – Children on the shielding list should not attend in person.
- You should continue to attend medical appointments and follow shielding guidance even if you have had the coronavirus vaccination.
- If you cannot work from home – The majority of workplaces can be made safe. If you have any concerns you should discuss these with your employer. However, at this level the Chief Medical Officer will issue a letter which is similar to a fit note and which will last for as long as your area is under Level 4 restrictions. This letter can be used in the few cases where it is not possible to make your workplace safe. Please note that this does not automatically mean you should not attend work. You should discuss this further with your employer, and if this results in adequate protection, you can continue to work.
The Scottish Government have produced advice on keeping safe which can be viewed here.
You should follow all advice for those on the shielding list, even if you have had a coronavirus vaccination.
Shielding Text Messaging Service
The Scottish Government have introduced a text messaging service for those who have been shielding. By signing up to the service, you will receive updates of new local or national restrictions and information to help keep you safe.
You can sign up by texting your 10 digit CHI number to 07860 064525. You can find your CHI number on the shielding letter you have received. Please do not include any other information. The service will confirm that you are on the shielding list.
The clinically extremely vulnerable will get priority access to vaccination against Covid-19 before the general population and in line with the priority order. You will be contacted again by the NHS with more information on when and how you will be invited to get the vaccine.
Even if you have had both doses of the vaccine, you should continue to follow shielding advice. The people you live with should also continue to follow the public health rules even if they have received the vaccine.
You can find more information about the Covid-19 vaccine here.
Young people and children
Young people aged 16 years and over with specific clinical vulnerabilities will be offered vaccination.
The only other group that can be considered are children aged 12 years and over with severe neurodisabilities and recurrent respiratory tract infections who require residential care. These vaccinations would be considered unlicensed use, paediatricians and GPs should discuss the benefits, risks and safety data with children, young people and their parents/guardians.
You can find more information about the Covid-19 vaccination programme for children and young people here.
Working safely during coronavirus
If you cannot work from home, your employer may be able to furlough you through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. If you are self-employed, you can get support from the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.
Information and guides for returning to work, for both employees and employers, can be found at Healthy Working Lives, a website from Public Health Scotland.
The Scottish Government has developed risk assessment guidance and tools to support employees and employers to have constructive conversations to identify individual risks and take appropriate action to make the workplace safer. Guidance on the assessment tools can be found here.
Carers and Parents
Mencap have pulled together resources and advice for carers who may be affected by Covid-19.
A support bubble is a support network that links two households. You can form a support bubble with a household if:
- You live by yourself
- You’re a single adult living with one or more children under the age of 18
You should not form a support bubble with a household that is part of another support bubble.
Scottish Government have produced guidance for accessing PPE.
If you are an unpaid/family carer and think you require PPE due to your caring role, and the routes you normally use to access it are unavailable, you should contact your local carers centre and they will advise you on how to access supplies locally.
You can find a list of local carers centres and young carer services on the Care Information Scotland website. If your local carers’ centre is unavailable, you can call the Social Care PPE Support Centre on 0300 303 3020 and they can provide you with information.
Information for Charities
The SCVO provides a hub of information for charities concerned by the Covid-19 pandemic, including information on emergency funding and human resources considerations.
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