Covid-19 – update 12

More info from the Government:

Overseas key NHS staff to get visas extended free of charge to work on the frontline

 

As part of the national effort to combat coronavirus, doctors, nurses and paramedics will automatically have their visas extended, free of charge, for one year.

The extension, announced today (31 March) by the Home Secretary Priti Patel, will apply to around 2,800 migrant doctors, nurses and paramedics, employed by the NHS whose visa is due to expire before 1 October.

The extension will also apply to their family members, demonstrating how valued overseas NHS staff are to the UK.

By giving them the peace of mind that they do not need to apply for a visa extension, this will allow those at the frontline – working around the clock in hospitals to treat the most seriously ill – to focus fully on combatting coronavirus and saving lives.

To get more doctors and nurses on the frontline, the Home Office has also lifted the restriction on the number of hours student nurses and doctors can work in the NHS.

On top of these changes, pre-registered overseas nurses who are currently required to sit their first skills test within 3 months and to pass the test within 8 months, will now have this deadline extended to the end of the year as well.

This will give overseas nurses more time to pass their exams, whilst they spend the immediate term working on the frontline.

 

101 numbers to be free during the crisis

From tomorrow no member of the public should have to pay for 101 non-emergency calls to the police.

Currently, callers to the 101 number are connected to their local police force, or a force of their choice, and charged 15p a time.

The vast majority of people will be able to use the service free of charge from tomorrow. However, from 1 April to 1 July there remains a chance that users of small operators will be charged for using the 101 service. The Home Office will be urging those providers to refund their customers.

In May last year, the Home Office announced it will invest £7 million a year to make the service free, which receives around 30 million calls annually.

 

Safe funerals

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is an infectious disease and can be transmitted when large groups of people congregate. However, with certain precautions funerals should continue to take place.

To help reduce the risk of spreading the infection, funeral directors and faith leaders are advised to restrict the number of mourners who attend funerals, so a safe distance of at least 2 metres (3 steps) can be maintained between individuals. Only members of the deceased person’s household or close family members should attend funerals. Any individual displaying symptoms of COVID-19 should not attend. Those who do attend will need to adhere to social distancing at all times, including when travelling to and from the funeral.

In addition, the guidance advises that since there is a small but real risk of transmission from the body of a deceased person, mourners are strongly advised not to take part in any rituals or practices that bring them into close contact with the body of a person who has died from or with symptoms of COVID-19. Practices that involve close personal contact with the deceased should only be carried out using the correct personal protective equipment (PPE).

 

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