Coronavirus in Sheffield: Everything we know so far, as third person dies and 82 cases are confirmed
The coronavirus pandemic is the biggest crisis to face the UK in a generation, and has drastically changed life as we know it in Sheffield.
New measures and more closures are being announced every day as the number of cases and deaths from the virus soar across Europe.
Here’s everything we know so far about the impact in Sheffield.
How many cases have there been and how many people have died?
There had been 82 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Sheffield as of Sunday, March 22, with three people in the city having died after contracting the virus.
Across the UK, 5,683 people have tested positive, and there have been 281 deaths.
What is the latest government advice?
Anyone aged over 70 or with any of the range of health conditions putting them at greater risk from the virus, including asthma, heart disease and diabetes, has been ‘strongly advised’ to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for at least 12 weeks.
Anybody showing symptoms of coronavirus, including a new continuous cough and/or high temperature, should stay at home and not leave the house for seven days if they live alone. If they live with other people, everyone in that household should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person shows any symptoms, however mild.
Everyone else is advised to work from home where possible, avoid gatherings and all non-essential use of public transport and to keep at least two metres distance between theselves and other people at all times.
Pressure is growing on the Government to announce a complete lockdown, as many people continue to ignore the social distancing guidelines.
What businesses have closed due to coronavirus?
The Government has told pubs, restaurants, leisure centres and similar venues to shut their doors to prevent people gathering indoors but many takeaways and most grocery stores remain open.
McDonald’s has announced all UK branches will close by 7pm tonight, Monday, March 23. Other big names which have closed temporarily in a bid to contain the spread of the virus include Costa, Nandos, Waterstones, New Look, H&M, River Island, and The Body Shop.
Why are some schools remaining open?
All schools have been told to close to restrict the spread of COVID-19, but key workers like NHS staff and those working in food distribution have been allowed to continue sending their children if they have no other option.
What are supermarkets doing to ensure people have the food and other essentials they need?
Panic buying has been blamed for certain items like toilet rolls, bread and pasta proving hard to find on supermarket shelves.
But the Government and supermarket chiefs insist there is no shortage of supplies and have asked everyone to buy only what they need to ensure no one goes without.
Supermarkets have introduced dedicated opening hours for vulnerable people and NHS workers in the mornings, have promised to give vulnerable people priority when booking grocery deliveries and are recruiting in huge numbers to meet what they say is ‘unprecedented’ demand.
What support is there for those affected by business closures?
The Government has pledged to pay up to 80 per cent of wages for employees who are unable to work due to the pandemic, with employers asked to make up the remainder, but there are calls for more to be done to support self-employed workers.
Mortgage lenders have agreed to offer payment holidays to those in need, and a ban on new evictions during the national emergency has been introduced to protect renters.
What is happening to public services in Sheffield?
Libraries have closed, but online library services are still running and borrowers have been assured no fines will be incurred while they are shut.
Sheffield Council says its Streets Ahead team, which is responsible for maintaining the city’s roads and pavements, may have to stop some work to prioritise ‘emergency, critical and key activities’.
Waste and recycling services are still operating as normal, but are expected to be affected by the outbreak.
If that happens, the council says black bin and clinical waste collections will be prioritised and wherever possible blue and brown recycling bin collections will continue too.
CORONAVIRUS: THE FACTS
What is coronavirus?
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can affect lungs and airways. It is caused by a virus called coronavirus.
What caused coronavirus?
The outbreak started in Wuhan in China in December 2019 and it is thought that the virus, like others of its kind, has come from animals.
How is it spread?
As this is such a new illness, experts still aren’t sure how it is spread. But.similar viruses are spread in cough droplets. Therefore covering your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing, and disposing of used tissues straight away is advised. Viruses like coronavirus cannot live outside the body for very long.
What are the symptoms?
The NHS states that the symptoms are: a dry cough, high temperature and shortness of breath - but these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness. Look out for flu-like symptoms, such as aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose and a sore throat. It’s important to remember that some people may become infected but won’t develop any symptoms or feel unwell.
What precautions can be taken?
Washing your hands with soap and water thoroughly. The NHS also advises to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze; put used tissues in the bin immediately and try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell. Also avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth unless your hands are clean.
Should I avoid public places?
The advice now is to avoid public places and any non-essential travel. Travel abroad is also being advised against for the next 30 days at least, and many European countries have closed their borders.
What should I do if I feel unwell?
Don’t go to your GP but instead call NHS 111 or look online at the coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and what to do next.
When to call NHS 111
NHS 111 should be used if you feel unwell with coronavirus symptoms, have been in a country with a high risk of coronavirus in the last 14 days or if you have been in close contact with someone with the virus.
Sources: World Health Organisation and NHS