Coronavirus (COVID- 19) Information and Contingency Plan.

This document is being updated regularly. Last update 18/03/2020

About Covid-19
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways.

What’s the risk of catching coronavirus in the UK?
The UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the public from moderate to high. But the risk to individuals remains moderate. 

How coronavirus is spread
Similar viruses spread in cough droplets or contact with infected surfaces. 

How to avoid catching or spreading germs
There’s currently no vaccine for coronavirus, but there are things you can do to help stop germs like coronavirus spreading.

• cover your mouth and nose with a tissue (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
• put used tissues in the bin immediately
• wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
• try to avoid close contact with people 

• do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Symptoms of coronavirus
The main symptoms of coronavirus are a cough, a high temperature and shortness of breath. If you become unwell stay at home for 7 days, even if symptoms are mild.

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. If you are concerend call 111, stay indoors and avoid close contact with other people. Tell 111 about any recent travel and any symptoms you have. If you’re in Northern Ireland, call 0300 200 7885.

How to isolate yourself if you could have coronavirus
Current government advice is; if you have a fever above 37c and a new continuous/persistent cough, you should isolate yourself for seven days.
You should:
• stay at home
• not go to your SMART meeting
• not use public transport or taxis
• ask friends, family members or delivery services to do errands for you
• try to avoid visitors to your home – it’s OK for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food
These steps can help reduce the spread of infection.

Treatment for coronavirus
There is no specific treatment for coronavirus.
Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the infection.
Further information
GOV.UK information on coronavirus and the situation in the UK

World Health Organization: coronavirus myth busters

It is important that we work together to contain a possible outbreak and minimise the risk of the virus spreading. Please be aware that some meeting participants may be particularly susceptible to this virus due to long term health issues and others may become very anxious.
1. Maintain good personal hygiene and encourage other to do so. Use tissues to cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Wash hands afterwards with soap and hot water or use hand sanitiser if not available. Be vigilant when using public transport and clean hands before touching your face or eating.
2. Avoid touching your face and mouth

Current outbreak

Current government advice is to stay at home and avoid any non-essential travel. Champions should follow their own organisation’s policy and procedures, (based on their legal accountability for Health & Safety) regarding closing SMART meetings.  SMART advises all meetings to close until the current epidemic has passed .

SMART endorses government advice to all Peer Meeting Facilitators that non-essential travel should be avoided and social distancing measures should be adopted, as meeting participants may be very vulnerable to this virus due to chronic health conditions.

Meetings should close temporarily to protect facilitators, participants and the wider community. SMART’s top priority is the health and wellbeing of our volunteers, meeting participants and staff. Any meetings that continue to run pose a risk the health of participants and the wider community and will not be covered by SMART’s insurance.

We do understand that uncertainty and change is difficult to deal with and we are doing all we can to provide alternatives.  Please signpost meeting participants  to the alternatives SMART can offer e.g. online meetings, which will be communicated extensively via all available media.

In line with SMART’s self-empowering philosophy, groups will take responsibility for deciding how to best to support each other during meeting closures due to this epidemic.

All meeting facilitators are reminded to please inform Central Office of  temporary meeting closures. Accurate information is essential to prevent meeting participants travelling needlessly. Either call Central Office on 0330 053 6022 or email [email protected] or [email protected]. If you phone and your call is not answered, we are probably on another call, so please leave a message.

SMART Recovery International is coordinating our global response and countries will be working together to ensure mutual support is still available. Currently the plan is to increase the number of online SMART meetings to provide an alternative means of accessing mutual support and the SMART programme. There are over 50 English language online SMART Recovery meetings running each week through SMART Recovery USA and UK SMART Recovery. Discussion forums and chat rooms are also available on the US website and open to all.

SMART Recovery in the UK will be recruiting additional meeting facilitators to run temporary online meetings in the next few weeks to offer support to those affected by meeting closures due to Corona Virus. 

The situation is changing rapidly. Regular updates on public health advice, status of meetings and availability of online meetings will be posted on our website. If you have any concerns please call Central Office or email us [email protected] , and use the title Coronavirus

It is understandable that this epidemic may bring feelings and responses including fear and vulnerability. It is important to look after yourself and find support from loved ones, friends and each other. Be kind to yourselves and be kind to others as they too could be feeling these emotions.

Angie King
Executive Director
UK SMART Recovery

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