Covid-19: Other Support for Individuals

If you are symptomatic and need to book a COVID-19 test, please read the following information:

· Advice on symptoms can be found at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

· Appointments for the drive-through testing centres can be booked online at: https://www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test or by calling 0300 303 2713.

If you are or know someone abroad who is trying to return home, please read the following information:

· The UK Government has been working flat out to get British travellers stranded abroad home, and have partnered with key airline providers to ensure that tourists stranded abroad can get home.

· Where commercial routes do not exist, the UK Government has pledged £75 million to enable additional charter flights and to ensure that tickets home are affordable.

· Airlines have committed to offer alternative arrangements where routes have been previously cancelled. They will allow passengers to change tickets, as well as provide the latest advice and information as the situation changes.

· British tourists stranded abroad should first check if there are commercial routes available by checking airline websites, FCO travel advice pages and local British embassy social media. If there are no commercial options, please visit the UK Government’s foreign travel advice page and follow embassy social media and email updates. When special return flights become available, they will be advertised by the embassy, on FCO Travel Advice Pages and if you register for updates you will be contacted via email.

· The latest advice from the UK Government on a range of travel related issues is available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus.

If you are a foreign national concerned about your visa expiring while in the UK, please read the following information:

· The UK Government have extended the visas of foreign nationals who cannot leave the UK due to travel restrictions or self-isolation until 31 July. This extension will apply to anyone whose visa expired after 24 January but were unable to return home as a result of coronavirus. The scheme will be kept under review in case it requires extending. Anyone in this situation should apply online at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents.

· The UK Government have announced that all NHS frontline staff with visas due to expire before October 2020 will have their visa extended for one year. Doctors, nurses, paramedics, midwives, radiographers, social workers and pharmacists will automatically have their visas extended, free of charge, for one year.

If you feel vulnerable but do not have a support network, please read the following:

· A new helpline has been set up for people who would be at high risk if they contracted coronavirus, but are without support from family or their community. In particular, people who are any of: (1) aged over-70, (2) disabled, (3) requiring the support of mental health services, (4) pregnant, (5) unable to get online or (6) receive the flu jab for health reasons should contact the helpline on 0800 111 4000. This helpline is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

· The helpline will support you to get essential food or medication, emotional support, or information for vulnerable children and adults.

If you are concerned about an older person in need of support, please read the following information:

· Age Scotland have a free, confidential helpline which provides information, friendship and advice on 0800 12 44 222. It should be available Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm. Practical advice for helping older relatives and friends through this difficult time is available at www.age.scot/5waystohelp.

If you are worried about your mental health or wellbeing, please read the following information:

· Advice on mental health can be found at https://www.nhsinform.scot/your-mental-wellbeing

· If you’re feeling distressed, in a state of despair, suicidal or need emotional support you can phone Samaritans for free on 116 123.

If you are a veteran, please read the following information:

· All Armed Forces Pensions, War Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation Scheme regular payments should continue to be made as usual. However due to COVID-19, there have been some changes to Veterans UK Services. The latest information is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-changes-to-veterans-uk-services.

· A new website, www.HeadFIT.org, has been designed specifically for the defence community to provide 24/7 access to self-help tools that can enhance mood, drive and confidence, and help you manage the stresses of everyday life.

· The ‘Unforgotten Forces’ partnership has been given extra funding. Further information is available at https://www.poppyscotland.org.uk/get-help/unforgotten-forces/about-unforgotten-forces/.

If you are pregnant and worried about whether you should go to work, please read the following information:

· The latest advice for pregnant women and their families from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is available at https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/guidelines-research-services/guidelines/coronavirus-pregnancy/covid-19-virus-infection-and-pregnancy/.

If you are concerned about your car or driving licence, please read the following information:

· Car, motorcycle and van owners will be granted a 6-month exemption from MOT testing from 30 March 2020. This will allow people to carry on with essential travel. During this period vehicles must still be kept in a roadworthy condition.

· What if my MOT is currently due but I’m in self-isolation? The Department of Transport is working with insurers and the police to ensure people will not be negatively affected as a result of self-isolating.

· Further information is available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-mots-for-cars-vans-and-motorcycles-due-from-30-march-2020.

· If you have a photocard driving licence due to expire between 1 February and 31 August 2020 you will be granted an automatic 7-month extension from the date of expiry. This will help drivers to make necessary journeys without having to obtain a new photograph to renew their licence. Further information is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/drivers-granted-7-month-photocard-licence-extension.

If you wish to report a business behaving unfairly, please read the following information:

· Unfair business practices can be reported to the Competitions and Markets Authority at https://www.coronavirus-business-complaint.service.gov.uk/.

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Published by Sarah Russell on behalf East Lothian Conservative and Unionist Association, 4 Church Street, Haddington EH41 3EX