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Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Heléna Herklots CBE, said:

“With the government shifting from a ‘contain’ to ‘delay’ approach to try and manage the Coronavirus outbreak, it is crucial that we all take appropriate action to prevent the spread of the virus and keep each other safe.

“This means continuing to follow the advice from the government and public health experts, and taking action that has been proven to reduce the chances of catching or spreading the virus, such as regular hand-washing and limiting physical contact such as shaking hands, etc.

“Following this advice and taking this action is especially important for older people, who may also have to make difficult decisions about self-isolation, which they may feel will be necessary to protect themselves.

“It is therefore crucial that older people consider the support they may need, and that family, friends, neighbours and communities identify the ways they may be able to provide this support to an older person in this situation, such as making arrangements to ensure that food and medication is available. We can also all play our part in helping older people to stay connected, whether by phone, or newer technology such as Skype or FaceTime; this may involve helping some older people to use these new kinds of technology for the first time.

“I know this is a particularly worrying time for many older people, and as Older People’s Commissioner I will continue to maintain regular contact with the Welsh Government to help ensure that the most up-to-date information and advice is being communicated effectively and that all possible action is being taken to ensure that older people will be able to access health care and other forms of support should they need to.

“Much of my work and the work of my team involves meeting and engaging with older people throughout Wales, but these events will now be cancelled while we continue to monitor the situation.

“Any older people who are concerned that they may have symptoms should self-isolate for 7 days and if their symptoms worsen or you don’t feel better after 7 days, you should call 111 or 0845 46 47. You should avoid visiting a doctor’s surgery or hospital and can use the NHS Direct Wales online symptom checker.”

Updated: 16 March 2020

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