Coronavirus update

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  19 March 2020    

Message from Hounslow Council

Cllr Curran

The coronavirus is of course a grave concern for us all. I want to assure you that the Council is working closely with our local partners, particularly those in the NHS, as well as Public Health England and the Government, to control the spread of coronavirus. Plans are in place to help manage any potential impact on services, and we’re meeting with local community and voluntary groups to see how best we can support and help coordinate this inspiring groundswell of good work.

This is the first in what will be a regular enewsletter to residents with updates on the latest information on coronavirus, access to support and ways you can get involved in the community effort.

It’s so important that together, as a borough, we all pull together during these difficult times to support each other and help keep our more vulnerable residents safe. We all have a responsibility to follow the guidance from Government and the NHS to try to keep ourselves and others free from infection and help prevent the disease from spreading.

Teams across the Council have identified our residents and staff who may be at particular risk and are supporting them to stay healthy and get advice at the earliest opportunity should they become unwell. Our priority for now, above all else, is the protection of our vulnerable residents and the delivery of frontline services on which people rely.

I want to thank everyone in the borough who has gone above and beyond in their efforts. I’m very proud of the residents and businesses of Hounslow and I’m sure, if we all work together over these coming months, we will be stronger for it.

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Help stop the spread

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  • Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself and others from illnesses such as food poisoning and flu. 
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or use a hand sanitiser if you’re out and about, particularly after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose, eating or handling food, and when arriving at work or getting home. Remember – catch it, bin it, kill it.
  • Catch your coughs and sneezes in a tissue, or use your sleeve if needed, throw the tissue away, then wash your hands. 
  • If you think you or someone you know may have coronavirus, visit NHS111 online

    The latest information on the coronavirus in general is available on the Government’s website.


Stay at home - if you have either:

  • A high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  • A new, continuous cough – this means you've started coughing repeatedly.

If you have the symptoms of coronavirus, you must stay at home for 14 days starting from the day you have become ill.

If you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days, irrespective if they have the symptoms. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house becomes ill. 

More information about the virus and its symptoms is available at NHS online

Social distancing

To protect the vulnerable and those with underlying health issues, the Government advises that we all should reduce our social interaction with others to reduce the transmission of coronavirus. People over 70 years of age, pregnant women, and those with underlying conditions need to pay attention to these new measures.

Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

  • You feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • Your condition gets worse
  • Your symptoms do not get better after 7 days

Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

Please do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you're staying at home. 

Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you're staying at home. Read the online advice about staying at home.


In line with new government advice all schools will now be closed to most children, from the end of the school day this Friday (20 March) until further notice.

The expectation is that schools will remain open for the children of key workers, or those with an education, health and care plan, and vulnerable children.  

The Council has been in touch with headteachers to ascertain how this will work from next week. It is a complex situation and schools will try to update parents as soon as possible once plans are in place. We have offered support to schools as best we can to help them to deal with the challenges they face in trying to manage the Government’s requirements.

Exams: The Government has confirmed that school exams including GCSEs and A Levels will not take place in May and June. However, the Government will ensure pupils due to sit exams this summer will get the qualifications they need. A detailed set of measures is being worked on with the sector and Ofqual to ensure that no child is unfairly penalised.

Community support


The Council has been speaking to local charity and voluntary groups, faith groups and other organisations on how we can support and help coordinate the community work to support vulnerable residents. It is expected a community hub will be set up over the coming days which will act as a focal point for queries from residents and businesses, and help manage the ongoing support effort. We will update you as soon as it’s up and running.

Coronavirus related scams

Fraud alert

It is likely that fraudsters will take advantage of the spread of Covid-19 coronavirus to enable both cyber and doorstep crime. 

For example fraudsters may send coronavirus-themed phishing emails attempting to trick people into opening malicious attachments or revealing sensitive personal and financial details.

Watch out for scam messages: Don't click on links or attachments in suspicious emails and never respond to unsolicited messages and calls asking you for personal or financial information.

Shopping online: If you're making a purchase from a company or person you don't know and trust, carry our some research first. If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, use a credit card if you have one as most will insure online purchases.

Protect your devices from the latest threats: Always install the latest software and app updates to protect your devices from the latest threats. 

Doorstep crime: Please beware of strangers turning up at your doorstep wanting to help with your shopping or to help you in other ways. Only accept help from people you know. 

If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, report it to or by calling 0300 123 2040

Guidance for employers and businesses

The Chancellor announced a set of financial measures to support the business. We have been working hard to get the necessary clarity from Government on how its various packages (below) should be administered, so we can ensure the funding support reaches our businesses as quickly as possible once we can access it. We will contact business as soon as we have this.

  • Retail relief increased from 50% to 100% and scope extended to include all hospitality and leisure properties irrespective of rateable value (including Pubs)
  • £10,000 grant to small businesses that pay little or no business rates and are eligible for small business rate relief or retail relief with a rateable value below £15,000
  • £25,000 grant for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000

The increase in retail relief will be applied automatically to the qualifying businesses.  We will write to the businesses once the changes have been implemented. We are working with our system providers to implement these changes as soon as possible.

To find out what employers and businesses can do to advise their staff about the coronavirus is available from the Government - COVID-19: guidance for employers and businesses

If you need further clarity on any of the above. please contact our business rates team by email or telephone:

Telephone: 020 8583 5708

Latest information and advice

The Council has a coronavirus advice webpage which is updated daily with the latest information.

You can also follow us on social media using the links below.

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