Covid-19 (Coronavirus) - Essential information
This page will be updated with any new information regarding Covid-19.
It is not a definitive list.
We cannot provide you with medical advice, but you will find links here to organisations that have the most up to date advice for you.
Please find the latest news and announcements here.
Here you'll find essential or useful information on:
- Your health (including, but not limited to, Mental Health, Lung, Asthma, Diabetes and Cancer)
- Information for Healthcare professionals
- Social Distancing
- General Information on UK Government Support
- Employees (guidance for employees and information regarding insurance)
- Business (including, but not limited to, support schemes by Welsh and UK Governments, Bank of England, Insurance providers, HMRC)
- Travel (domestic and foreign)
- Housing (information for tenants and landlords)
- Personal finance (including, but not limited to, benefits, debt, banking services, statutory sick pay)
- Gwynedd Council
- Crime (including Courts & Tribunals and visiting prisons)
- Utilities (including, but not limited to, Ofcom, Ofgem, BT, Mobile Phone providers, Welsh Water)
- Coronavirus COVID-19 Symptom Checker - NHS Wales
- Check if you need coronavirus medical help - Welsh Government
- Guidance for people with confirmed or possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection - Public Health Wales
- Stay at home: guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection - UK Gov
- Coronavirus and your wellbeing (mental health) - Mind
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Lung conditions: BLF
- Diabetes: You can also get specialist information and advice on all aspects of living with diabetes through our Diabetes UK Helpline. They can help with answers, support or just to talk to someone who knows about diabetes - on 0345 123 2399 or [email protected]. Their helpline is open Monday to Friday, from 9am to 6pm, and they’re here to help.
- Blind and partially sighted - RNIB
- Cancer - Wales Cancer Alliance
- Investigation and initial clinical management of possible cases - UK Government
- Guidance for health professionals - UK Government
- Guidance for Primary Care - Public Health England
- How to reduce the risk of catching or spreading coronavirus - Welsh Government
- Guidance on social distancing for everyone in Wales and protecting older people and vulnerable adults - UK Gov
General Information on UK Government Support
- Support public services
- Support people affected by COVID-19
- Support businesses experiencing increases in costs or financial disruptions
- Guidance for employees - UK Gov
- ABI (Insurance):
Home and Motor Insurance Pledges
ABI Home and Motor insurers have made the following pledges to support home and motor insurance
customers during the COVID-19 crisis.
- Support those who need to make a claim. Insurers have implemented business continuity plans and work closely with service providers to do everything possible in these challenging circumstances to
continue to handle claims and support their customers. We recognise there will be many customers who will need additional support and insurers will prioritise those in vulnerable circumstances.
- Support those who are working from home. If you are an office-based worker and need to work from home because of government advice or because you need to self-isolate, your home insurance cover will not be affected. You do not need to contact your insurer to update your documents or extend your cover.
- Support those who cannot work from home. If you have to drive to your workplace because of the impact of Covid-19, your insurance policy will not be affected. You do not need to contact your insurer to
update your documents or extend your cover.
- Support those who use their cars to help their communities. If you are using your own car for voluntary purposes to transport medicines or groceries to support others who are impacted by Covid-19,
your cover will not be affected. You do not need to contact your insurer to update your documents or extend your cover.
- Support our key workers. If your work is critical to the national response to Covid-19 and you need to use your own car to drive to different locations for work purposes because of the impact of Covid-19,
your cover will not be affected. You do not need to contact your insurer to update your documents or extend your cover.
- Coronavirus: advice for employers and employees - ACAS
- Guidance to employers and businesses on COVID-19 - Welsh Government
- A package of support worth more than £200m for small businesses to help them during the coronavirus outbreak - Business Wales (Government unit)
- 3-month capital and monitoring fee repayment holiday for all customers - Development Bank of Wales
- Government support to businesses - Business Wales (Government unit)
- Support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees - UK Gov
- Support for businesses that pay business rates - UK Gov
- Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates - UK Gov
- Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme - UK Gov
- Support for larger firms through the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility - UK Gov
- Support for businesses paying tax - UK Gov
- Insurance - UK Gov
- CORONAVIRUS BUSINESS INTERRUPTION LOAN SCHEME
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme was announced by the chancellor on 11 March and has since been developed and extended to businesses with a turnover of up to £45 million. The scheme has been designed to help businesses manage their finances given the unprecedented situation many are currently facing. It aims to support those SME businesses that were trading successfully before Covid-19 but which may now experience lost or deferred revenues, or disruptions to their cashflow as a result of the current disruption and those businesses whose growth requirements cannot supported under normal bank lending criteria.- Bank of England
- COVID-19 CORPORATE FINANCING FACILITY
The Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF, the Facility) will provide funding to businesses by purchasing commercial paper of up to one-year maturity, issued by firms making a material contribution to the UK economy. It will help businesses across a range of sectors to pay wages and suppliers, even while experiencing severe disruption to cashflows.- Bank of England
HMRC tax helpline
HMRC has set up a helpline for businesses and self-employed people who are concerned about paying their tax due to COVID-19.
Call 0800 0159 559 for help and advice.
Business insurance and support while premises are unoccupied
- If a business has to temporarily close because of COVID-19, where customers are taking the appropriate steps to mitigate the risk of damage to the property whilst unoccupied, insurers will be flexible around the period of un-occupancy specified on the policy document.
- Policies will often include conditions that are intended to ensure good practice in protecting buildings of damage caused by the risk of fire, theft and escape of water, which are often increased when a building is empty. It is important that business owners continue to follow risk management advice and
ensure they understand what steps they need to take.
- Some insurers have also waived requirements for their business customers to immediately notify them of their unoccupied status, (depending on the individual business circumstances). This should help those customers concentrate on managing their businesses and allow insurers’ call centres to focus on managing the significant number of insurance claims being processed.
- If there are any specific requirements as part of an insurance contract that businesses are unable or unlikely to be able to comply with, such as on-site security, they should speak to their insurer
or insurance adviser/broker.
- Even in a time when a business is unable to operate as usual due to the impacts of COVID-19, it’s important that businesses remain covered for standard risks, many of which may be more likely when the property is unoccupied, such as vandalism of the property, theft of stock or equipment, or even loss of information or damage to IT systems and networks.
Managing the impact of COVID-19 on Pubs Code interactions with tied pub tenants - UK Government
- Guidance for social or community care and residential settings - Welsh Government
- Guidance on home care provision - UK Government
- Guidance for carers - Carers UK
- What to do if someone in your household has symptoms of coronavirus - Welsh Government
- 18.3.2020 - Schools close early for Easter - Welsh Government
- Guidance to educational settings - Welsh Government
- Travel guidance for education settings and students - Welsh Government
- Traveline Cymru / Coach travel
- Arriva Bus Wales: "In light of the government's ruling and the lower numbers of people travelling, we can confirm that we have had to reduce the frequency of some services.
However, we will still be operating our key routes and have lifted the timing restrictions on concessionary passes to ensure customers can continue to access critical services and key workers are kept moving."
- Rail - Transport for Wales
- Overseas Travel advice - UK Gov
- Emergency legislation to suspend new evictions from social or private rented accommodation while this national emergency is taking place
- No new possession proceedings through applications to the court to start during the crisis
- Landlords will also be protected as 3 month mortgage payment holiday is extended to Buy to Let mortgages
Click here for more information
Please note that tenants can contact our Welfare Team on 0300 111 2122 if they have any concerns regarding income and benefits - Grwp Cynefin
- Coronavirus and claiming benefits - Universal Credit
- Statutory Sick Pay - UK Government
- Problems getting to or topping up your prepayment meter - Citizens Advice
- Debt and Coronavirus - Step Change, Debt Charity
- Coronavirus and your finances - Step Change, Debt Charity
- Coronavirus, claiming benefits and SSP - Step Change, Debt Charity
- What help is available from creditors - Step Change, Debt Charity
Financial Help & Rights (Money Saving Expert)
- Credit Cards
- Consumer Rights - Which
Dedicated support lines
Our customers over 70 and those in isolation: We have created a dedicated support line for customers over 70 and those who are in a period of isolation. This dedicated line has been set up so we can help those most in need and is open 8am-8pm 7 days a week. Those who need it can call us on:
NatWest – 0800 051 4176
Royal Bank of Scotland – 0800 051 4177
Ulster NI – 0800 092 4238
NHS Workers: We have also set up an emergency customer care line for NHS workers. Our team of experts are ready to help with emergency banking support such as lending assistance and lost and stolen cards. This line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for our customers:
NatWest – 0800 046 2418
Royal Bank of Scotland – 0800 0466734
Ulster NI – 0800 0466778
There may be circumstances where a personal customer may fall into financial difficulty as a result of the impacts of coronavirus. We will look to understand each customer’s situation on a case-by-case basis and can offer a number of options to help them manage their finances. We have a range of forbearance options to assist all customers in financial difficulty and have made available the following:
- Mortgage and loan repayment deferral for up to three months. This is available to both our residential and buy-to-let customers whose tenants are experiencing issues with their finances. We have also agreed a three-month moratorium on residential and buy-to-let possession action
- Customers can close fixed savings accounts to access cash with no early closure charge
- Refunds on credit card cash advance fees
- Customers can apply for increased credit card limit
- Customers can request an increased cash withdrawal limit of up to £500 (debit card)
Ways to Bank
Customers can continue to access their banking through a range of channels, including digital, mobile, ATMs, telephony, video banking, branches and the Post Office.
We’re doing everything we can to keep our services running for customers. Our branch network remains open and we’re prioritising core opening hours from Monday to Friday, from 10am to 1pm. Aligned to the relevant public health guidance, we have reviewed our opening hours to ensure we can cater for our colleagues who are absent, many of them self-isolating. Unfortunately, due to these reasons, we have taken the difficult decision to pause our mobile branch fleet with immediate effect. We are proactively contacting our regular customers to discuss their banking needs. Customers can continue to access their banking services through our other channels including digital, mobile, ATMs, video banker, telephony and Post Office.
This is a fast-changing situation and could potentially change quickly. Our colleagues in branches and contact centres are working incredibly hard in difficult circumstances. We’re encouraging customers not to visit a branch unless it's critical and if they do to practice safe social distancing.
We would urge customers to regularly check their local services by visiting:
- NatWest - https://locator.natwest.com/?html
- Royal Bank of Scotland - https://locator-rbs.co.uk/
- Ulster Bank - https://locator.ulsterbank.co.uk/
Access to Cash
There are several ways we can support customers’ cash needs – and we are working to develop more options too. Customers can use ATMs, Post Offices and can call us or log into the mobile app to get a ‘GetCash’ code, which can be used to withdraw cash without a card.
Other Banks: Here (Bank of England)
Courts and tribunals planning and preparation - UK Gov
Visit someone in prison - UK Gov
Sainsbury's: “We are working closely with the Welsh Government and expect there to be a government database for vulnerable people living in Wales to register with imminently. We will prioritise this group so that they can access home delivery slots if they have been unable to get through to Sainsbury’s to register. We also continue to prioritise elderly, vulnerable and disabled customers living throughout the UK for online delivery slots through our customer Careline.”
Here you can find advice and answers to questions you may have on managing your energy supply during the outbreak: Ofgem
British Gas: Coronavirus update and FAQs
You will be aware that key colleagues within the water industry have been identified by Government as ‘key workers’. These are roles which are essential to protect public health and safety during this time. As a company we have tried to keep this number to a minimum.
These colleagues will play a vital role in ensuring we continue to keep the water flowing to our customers and safely take away the wastewater. As such they will remain visible while working across all of our communities during this period. This will include working on:
- essential construction work to maintain supply through the summer months
- essential maintenance work
- reactive work such as repairs of bursts, and
- leakage detection, again to ensure we have sufficient water supply through the summer
You will see us working in your streets and communities on this necessary work. We will always take all the necessary steps to protect them and our colleagues while they are working there.
To comply with Government guidance on isolation, all colleagues that can work from home are now doing so. Our 24 hour emergency line has not been affected and has remained open as normal.
We realise the situation is rapidly changing, and continue to closely monitor events so we can take any required steps and keep customers updated.
We continue to liaise with the Welsh Government and UK Government as well as other regulators and public health agencies. We also continue to work closely with other water companies across the UK to ensure we are all adopting a consistent approach to managing the situation.
We appreciate some customers will be concerned about paying their water bills; indeed, we are already supporting 132,000 low-income households in Wales to pay their bills. We also have a Priority Services Register which helps us manage our most vulnerable customers by ensuring that they are prioritised and given bottled water in case of any disruption to water supplies. Responding to this serious situation, we have set up dedicated contact channels for customers who are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of the outbreak, where they can arrange revised payment plans and payment holidays.
As you will appreciate, alongside many other organisations, BT is currently managing the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak. We are making every effort to keep people connected at this vital time, and we have more than enough capacity in our UK broadband network to handle mass-scale home-working.
From this week, residents and businesses in Dwyfor Meirionnydd have a new legal right to request a decent and affordable broadband service under the new Universal Service Obligation (USO) for Broadband. This was legislated for in 2017 as a service that has at least 10 Mbps Download speed and 1 Mbps upload.
BT has been designated by Ofcom to deliver this new legal right and we have agreed with Ofcom to proceed with introducing it as planned. Ofcom believe that approximately 8.8% of all premises in Dwyfor Meirionnydd could potentially benefit from it.
The level of service we will be able to provide will be substantially lower than it would be in normal circumstances. Constituents who call us about the USO may not reach an advisor due to the staffing pressure we are under. Similarly, the ability of Openreach to survey eligible premises is expected to be significantly affected for the foreseeable future as engineers prioritise the maintenance of critical services and vulnerable customers, with resources become increasingly stretched.
Residents will be able to undertake an initial check on their eligibility at www.bt.com/uso. This will enable them to find out if there are existing BT services already available to them and then place an order. We expect this will help the majority of people. Services already available include BT 4G Hub, which is our latest 4G-based fixed wireless access solution.
Simple advice for staying connected
As more people within the home use the same connection, householders can take their own steps to manage their data use and help everyone in the home get the bandwidth they need – whether it’s for video streaming, virtual meetings or voice calls.
Ofcom has identified a range of simple measures, which we are encouraging people to share on social media to help others stay connected.
Seven tips to stay connected
We’re starting today with seven tips that people can follow. Most can be followed straight away, for free.
You can signpost your constituents to the seven tips, along with more detailed advice on maximising broadband and mobile connections, at ofcom.org.uk/stayconnected.
1. Use your landline or wifi calls if you can
More people are making calls on their mobile network during the day. Because of this high demand, you may find you get a more reliable connection using your landline. If you do need to use your mobile, try using your settings to turn on ‘wifi calling’. Some smartphones and mobile packages allow your phone to make calls over your broadband network, which often provides the best sound quality and also helps reduce demand on the mobile network. Similarly, you can make voice calls over the internet using apps like Facetime, Skype or WhatsApp.
2. Move your router clear of other devices
Keep your router as far away as possible from other devices, and those which operate wirelessly. Cordless phones, baby monitors, halogen lamps, dimmer switches, stereos and computer speakers, TVs and monitors can all affect your wifi if they’re too close to your router. Did you know that microwave ovens can also reduce wifi signals? So don’t use the microwave when you’re making video calls, watching HD videos or doing something important online. Also, place your router on a table or shelf rather than on the floor, and keep it switched on.
3. Lower the demands on your connection
The more devices attached to your wifi, the lower the speed you get. Devices like tablets and smartphones often work in the background, so try switching wifi reception off on these when you’re not using them. If you’re carrying out video calls or meetings, turning the video off and using audio will require much less of your internet connection; or try starting them at less common times, rather than on the hour or half hour. You might also want to manage your family’s online activity, so that different people aren’t carrying out data-heavy tasks (like HD streaming, gaming or video calls) all at the same time. Downloading video in advance, instead of streaming it, can also help.
4. Try wired rather than wireless
For the best broadband speeds, use an Ethernet cable to connect your computer directly to your router rather than using wifi. This is a computer networking cable which should give you a faster, more reliable connection. They’re available from as little as £3.
5. Plug your router directly into your main phone socket
Where possible, try not to use a telephone extension lead, as these can cause interference which could lower your speed. If you have to use an extension lead, use a new, high-quality cable with the shortest possible length. Tangled and coiled cables can also affect speeds. So can interference from your phone line, so try plugging ‘microfilters’ into every phone socket in your home. They look like little white boxes and split the phone and broadband signals so that they don't affect each other. Different providers have varying setups in the home, so always check their website before unplugging any cables.
6. Test the speed on your broadband line
Find out what speed you’re actually getting. You can run a speed test using Ofcom’s official mobile and broadband checker. If possible, carry out tests over a few days and at different times of day. A number of in-home factors can affect wifi speeds, so look on your provider’s website for guidance on improving your signal around the home. You can download Ofcom’s checker as a smartphone app (search Ofcom in Apple’s app store or Google Play) or use it through your internet browser.
7. Get advice from your broadband provider
Then, if your connection isn’t working as well as it should, you can find advice on your broadband provider’s website – which is also available on mobile phones. If you need to contact them for help, please be aware that, because of coronavirus, some companies have many fewer people to help with your queries. Most are prioritising vulnerable customers and essential public services, so please take this into consideration.
Mobile Operators - Access to Health Information
- Access to the NHS UK online websites (including NHS England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) will be free, meaning that your data allowances will be unaffected.
- Please remember that calls to the NHS 111 helpline are already free to use across all providers.
For more details on each mobile operators’ response measures to COVID-19, please use the links below:
- EE – click here
- O2 – click here
- Three – click here
- Vodafone – click here
RSPCA - RSPCA Cymru provides emergency service during coronavirus lockdown