Information Now

17 July 20 Corona 15


Coronavirus updates
Newcastle City Library
Places of worship to open again
Samaritans awareness in July

Research & Reports

Surveillance of Covid 19 in schools
Cog UK Covid 19 epidemic result of 1,356 virus imports

Opportunities for Action

Public Health England (PHE) Covid guidance
PHE Summary of impact of Covid 19 on BAME Communities with recommendations


Psychological First Aid

New on InformationNOW this week!

Support arts and culture
Film showing:Doorbells – Covid 19

New organisations
Rest Less



With changes to TV Licensing for people over 75 years from 31 July 2020, we have updated our article to make sure that you know what you have to do, if you are eligible for a concession and methods of payment including a new simple payment service.

We have also written an article on EU Settlement status. As a result of Brexit, even if you have been in the UK or Newcastle for some time, you must apply if you have non-UK and non-Irish European Union (EU) status, you are from European Economic Area (EEA) and if you are a Swiss national. EEA countries includes all members of the EU as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.The Scheme will be open for applications until 30 June 2021.

There are a number of organisations locally and nationally that can help you.  Even if you can’t find the proof of residency straightaway, you should get in touch and get some advice.  You may also need some help as this is an online only process.

Coronavirus updates

Shop safely in Newcastle

With face coverings mandatory in shops from 24 July, here is How to make and wear a face mask from WHO.From July 24, wearing a face covering will be compulsory in shops and supermarkets. Failure to comply could result in a £100 fine, reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days.

Enforcement will only be carried out by the police, though shops and businesses should encourage customers to comply with the new legislation.

Exemptions will be made for children under the age of 11, as well as those with certain disabilities and medical conditions.

Shop safely in Newcastle.

Cyber crimeCyber criminals are targeting pension funds with absolute aggression during the pandemic, as schemes that have maintained face-to-face meetings and paper packs have been forced to move online during the lockdown.  The vast amounts of personal data the pensions sector holds about savers — from emails and passwords, to health information and bank details — make it an attractive target for cyber criminals, particularly using phishing emails.
Read our cyber scams and fraud article.

Pension schemes vary quite a lot in the levels of governance they have in place with smaller schemes generally being less well prepared for a data breach.

Since the introduction of the GDPR legislation, organisations must report any breach to the ICO that could risk “people’s rights and freedoms” within 72 hours of becoming aware of the incident. Those people must also be informed if they are likely to be “adversely” affected.

Opening up soon
In case you missed it, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, announced on Thursday that:

  • indoor gyms, leisure facilities and swimming pools will be able to reopen from 25 July
  • outdoor pools and cricket can begin from 11 July
  • the return of team sports will be facilitated by the relevant national governing body having their own sport-specific guidance approved by government.

Newcastle City Library to open again

City Library opens on Wednesday July 22.  Things will be quite different, so please  don’t plan to browse and read in the Library.  It will be open Monday to Friday between 11am and 5pm and initially only Levels 1 and 2 will be open to the public.Social distancing measures including protective screens, floor markings, signage and sanitisation stations will be in place to help people maintain best hygiene practices during their visit in line with the latest Public Health England guidance.

PCs will be available to use with a time limit of one hour per person per day and people wishing to use them must wear a face covering.

All books processed to members of the public will be quarantined for 72 hours upon their return before they can be reissued.

The City Library café will also reopen later this month, operating a takeaway-only service.

Here’s a film of City LIbrary.

Places of Worship open for public and private prayer

The Catholic Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle has announced the churches that are opening now and from next week.

Find out if an Anglican church is open near you.

The Muslim council of Britain has issued guidance on safe reopening

Read our Places of Worship article to find websites and further information.

Samaritans Awareness in July

July is a month when the Samaritans raise awareness about their work and reach out into communities to reduce the risk of suicide.  A lot of the usual branch activities won’t be happening, but they are an essential part of our voluntary sector in Newcastle. With the impact of the coronavirus on our lives, finances and health being revealed each day, please watch this film on the Samaritans we listen page.

InformationNOW’s data shows that Samaritans is amongst the most phoned organisations through the website.

In February 2016, they launched this video to show how hard it can be to hear the message that a friend is finding it hard to cope. In this video, a man talks about his everyday life in the way he would talk to a friend. Slowly, he reveals that he is struggling.  If you can, donate.


Surveillance of COVID-19 in schools

Earlier this month, PHE announced the establishment of a new voluntary COVID-19 study to assess and monitor the prevalence of the virus among pre-school, primary and secondary school pupils and teachers. The surveillance study, which will add to the data that they already collect through their national surveillance programmes, will help them to understand the rates of infection and transmission in schools across England. This work will further understanding of the role children play in transmission and will inform wider surveillance planned for educational settings in the autumn term.

Cog-UK: COVID-19 epidemic result of 1,356 virus imports

In June, a study by the COVID-19 Genomics UK consortium (Cog-UK), revealed that the COVID-19 epidemic in the UK is the result of at least 1,356 separate virus importations from abroad, followed by local transmission within the UK. Chaired by the Director of PHE’s National Infection Service and Chief Scientific Adviser Professor Sharon Peacock, the findings of Cog-UK invalidate the idea that a single ‘patient zero’ started the outbreak in the UK. Instead, the preliminary analysis confirms that transmission was largely initiated by travel from European countries including Italy in late February, Spain in early-to-mid-March, and then France in mid-to-late March.

Public Health England information

All PHE COVID-19 guidance for members of the public, as well as for people in clinical and non-clinical settings, is published and updated regularly on the GOV.UK collection page.

PHE has published a summary of the impact of Covid 19 on BAME communities which includes recommendations based upon stakeholder’s requests for action for strategies addressing inequalities.


Psychological First Aid

PHE has launched a Psychological First Aid (PFA) training module, aimed at all frontline and essential workers and volunteers through Future Learn.  Register online. The course aims to increase awareness and confidence to provide psychosocial support to people affected by COVID-19.  PFA is a globally recognised training in emergency situations, and the course has developed  as part of a national incident response, and with the support of NHS England and Health Education England.

The course is free, and no previous qualifications are required.  By the end of the course, outcomes will include: understanding how emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic can affect us, recognise people who may be at increased risk of distress and how to offer practical and emotional support.


Support arts and culture

Last week we promoted the TWAM museums and galleries that are opening.  Please support the theatres that have been struggling financially as well.

Live Theatre are streaming Approaching Empty from 21 July to 4 August. Set in the aftermath of Margaret Thatcher’s death, this is a drama about a taxi driver and playwright and his struggles.  It is set in the North of England. Please donate if you can.

Doorbells Covid 19

Elders Council with Skimstone Arts are showing Doorbells Covid 19 which is a film short showing on 29 July and 5 August hosted by VOICE and FUSE on each date respectively.  Using themes from the current pandemic and lockdown, we meet Kathleen whose life has changed, maybe for the better? Yet how do her choices resonate with our own? What choices do we really have about where we live now or in the future?  Please book.

Last updated: July 24, 2020

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