Responses to our conversation with Dr Justin Varney
Following the conversation between our Founder, Nathan Dennis and the Director of Public Health Birmingham, Dr Justin Varney on Friday 20th March 2020, Dr Justin gave his answers in response to the community’s questions, relating to #Covid19UK. Thank you Dr Justin for taking time out of your schedule to answer many of the community’s questions, please feel free to correct any information we may have misquoted.
Here is a compiled list of his answers:
1. If you have symptoms – please self-isolate for 7 days, after that you will not be infectious so you will be okay to go out. If you are in a household and have the symptoms, the whole household MUST self-isolate and quarantine for 14 days.
2. You should only go out during self-isolation if it is an emergency.
3. Social distancing should be of 2m away and if you are out with a group, you should maintain social distancing and there should be no more than 4-5 people in the group.
4. It is strongly advised that you DO NOT do multiple visits on the same day, especially if you are going back and forth to one place – it is likely that you could be risking the spread of the virus, unless you are draconian in terms of washing your hands at ALL times.
5. If you do visit people, it is advised that there is a visiting schedule in place and that you do not visit family or friends in a large group at one time.
6. When visiting others, do not share utensils and crockery and there must be NO physical contact.
7. 10% of schools are open so that the childcare for key-workers are provided for.
8. This crisis will more than likely continue until September/Autumn months.
9. Currently, only 20-30% of the population are taking heed of the advice given by the government.
10. If they were to put measures in place too early, it would have run the risk of people ignoring guidance even more – so they are releasing the precautionary measures out at the right time for the greater good for the country.
11. There are constant discussions about how to improve the mental wellbeing and mental resilience for young people at this time.
12. They are aware of the possible rise in anti-social behaviour and criminal activity
13. Over the next week, there will be more guidelines and advice in place for volunteers, especially young people that want to help.
14. There are local authorities coming up with solutions to create support for the elderly and the most vulnerable people of the country – by this time next week there will be information available on how they can be supported.
15. Elderly individuals who have had to self-isolate – there is information on Age UK and Birmingham CVS.
16. Governance to be applied to protect people against those that may take advantage.
17. The council’s priorities at the moment are:
– Reducing the loss of lives
– Ensuring a future for the city from what is currently happening.
18. Look on council website for updates about the ‘Clean Air Zone’.
19. In terms of supermarkets and shops:
– No need to panic buy, there will not be a shortage of food and supplies.
– Only buy the things you most definitely need.
– Do more online shopping
– Supermarkets will be increasing their delivery systems especially for the high demand items.
20. In terms of over usage of hand sanitisers, it is not effective unless it is alcohol based. So the key things to note are:
– Soap and water to wash your hands is more effective than hand sanitizers.
– Bars of soap as well as liquid soap is just as effective to use.
21. For all key websites with information about Covid-19, please visit:
– NHS Website – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
– Government Website – https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
– Council Website – https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/coronavirus_advice or visit any local council website for more guidance.