Covid-19 Latest Advice

This page will be used to share the latest and most up-to-date advice and information surrounding COVID-19. It is important in this uncertain time that we follow the advice provided by the Government and Health experts. This advice is likely to change daily based on the evolving situation.

As per the current advice, the most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves is to only go outside for food, health reasons or essential work. This should be done as infrequently as possible. When outside it is important to stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people.

When you return home, wash your hands immediately, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. Make sure you cough or sneeze into a tissue, put it in a bin and wash your hands. 

The Government has announced new measures to help tackle the spread of Coronavirus. This is called social distancing and is particularly important for people who:

  • are 70 or over
  • have a long-term condition
  • are pregnant
  • have a weakened immune system

Anyone who shows certain symptoms is advised to self-isolate for 7 days, regardless of whether they have travelled to affected areas. People with symptoms should stay at home and avoid all but essential contact with others for 7 days from the point of displaying mild symptoms, to slow the spread of infection. If you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms. If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.

There is further guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from Covid-19. 

People falling into this category include: 

  1. Solid organ transplant recipients.

  2. People with specific cancers:
    • people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer
    • people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
    • people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
    • people having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
    • people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
  3. People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD.

  4. People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell).

  5. People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection.

  6. Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.

The NHS in England is directly contacting people with these conditions to provide further advice.

If you think you fall into one of the categories of extremely vulnerable people listed above and you have not received a letter by Sunday 29 March 2020 or been contacted by your GP, you should discuss your concerns with your GP or hospital clinician.

For further guidance on shielding vulnerable people and how this differs to social distancing, follow the link provided below.

For information on getting assistance with food and medicines while shielding, follow the link provided below.

The symptoms are:

  • a high temperature (above 37.8°C) and/or
  • a new, continuous cough

 You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days contact NHS 111 online at If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

For the latest information on Covid-19, please visit the NHS 111 website:

If you have confirmed, or think you may have, Coronavirus, see the latest guidance here:

If you run your own business and would like to find out more about the support available, please visit: This includes information on:

  • a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (now extended to 19th March 2020:
  • deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
  • a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs)
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
  • a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
  • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

For information regarding the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. Please visit:

Dorset Council have started the process of rebilling all who are eligible for business rate relief through the Government's COVID-19 package of support.

To access the information in full, please visit the link provided:…/businesses-and-employers…

The full HMRC guidance available from HM Treasury can be found here:

Further details of Coronavirus job retention scheme:

For full employee guidance, please visit:


The Department of Work and Pensions latest update concerning disability benefit reviews and reassessment:


For further information on economic measures announced, including: access to funds for businesses; retail, hospitality and leisure sector; home owners and mortgages, please visit:


For information regarding the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme:


For immigration guidance, please see:


For Travel Advice, please see:


For advice for Britons stranded abroad:


For advice for parents and guardians of young people in school and for anyone who works in an education setting, please see:


The Government has now announced further information on exams and grades. This can be found at the following link:…/further-details-on-exams-and-grades-an…


If you are a key worker and need information on educational provision, please see:


For all information on schools closures, please see:


Latest information on exams and grades announced:


For all of the latest information from Public Health England, please see:


If you would like to volunteer to help in your local community, please consider registering with the British Red Cross Reserves: 


Town Council Covid-19 Support:


Dorset Council has established an internal Incident Management Team. This IMT is set up to meet weekly and feeds into the weekly local resilience forum’s Strategic Coordinating Group (SCG). More information can be found at:


Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry are also on hand to offer advice. Please visit:


For information regarding the Dorset Coronavirus Community Fund. Please visit:


Dorset Council have started the process of rebilling all who are eligible for business rate relief through the Government's COVID-19 package of support.

To access the information in full, please visit the link provided:…/businesses-and-employers…


If you live in Dorset, and need help accessing food, cash or medication, or for advice for CAB on benefits and claims, statutory sick pay and debat managements, please visit:

For Local shopping service operating in North Dorset:

Age UK Dorset: Useful contacts for those who need shopping and other services. 

Telephone: 01305269444.


Gillingham Town Council and Councillor Barry Von Clemens are providing help and support around the town.

They have about 70 volunteers but are in need of more. Safe Volunteering is allowed.

Please email to lend a hand/learn more about what you can do to help locally.

Telephone on 01747 823588 and we will talk to you about what is involved.


Blandford Forum Town Council have organised a collection of useful telephone numbers that may be of use to you. 

Age UK (North, South and West Dorset)

Age UK are coordinating requests for help with issues relating to loneliness and isolation, or support in accessing items such as food, cash or medication. To request help email: or call 01305 269444. Each request will be individually assessed and categorised according to the individual's level of need. 


Blandford Forum Town Council

Telephone: 01258454500 or 01258489490


The Town Council has directly contacted vulnerable/elderly people that we are aware of, offering support and assistance. We have a small team of staff and Councillors, some of whom need to self-isolate or social distance, but we would like to help residents as much as we can. Along with the Dorset Council, there are various groups and organisations already supporting local communities on a daily basis. If you are, or you know of anyone, self-isolating it can be difficult breaking routines and losing regular contact with people. We appreciate that it can be lonely not having someone to talk to so please do not hesitate to call us, but please not that we are unable to give any medical advice. 


Health Wellbeing Friend 

Telephone: 01258 451982 or 07968 334073

Tracey Revuelta-Ruffolo is kindly offering a daily phone call from a health team member, to offer a 'Health & Emotional Wellbeing check' - a quick chat just to a check they are okay. Please note that this is not to offer health diagnosis or advice but is more of a community life-line designed to support those who are vulnerable and isolating. 


Citizens Advice Central Dorset 

Telephone: 03444 111 444



Blandford Parish Church 



Government Hotlines:


The Government has set up the following hotlines, which I urge you to make use of. These will be able to provide you with a quicker response than myself to an urgent query:


If you are in need of help because you are stranded abroad, please call: 020 7008 0999


If you are a ventilator manufacturer, please call: 0300 456 3565


If you run a business or are self-employed and are concerned about paying your tax due to coronavirus, you can call HMRC’s helpline for help and advice: 0800 0159 559


There is a dedicated helpline number for educational settings – please call 0800 046 8687


The Dairy Response Fund is now open for applications. More information is available at the following link and applications must be in by midnight on 14th August: