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For communities from Somerset County Council

 The number of UK cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) continue to increase across the UK, including Somerset where we had our first confirmed cases over the weekend.

For most people, COVID-19 produces mild symptoms. These include a cough, high temperature (fever) and shortness of breath, and you’ll be fine after plenty of rest. However, for some (older people or those with an underlying health condition), it can lead to severe respiratory issues. We can all do our bit to reduce its spread: wash your hands regularly with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds, try to avoid touching your face (particularly nose, eyes and mouth), wipe down surfaces and objects regularly and use a tissue if you cough, then bin it.

New social distancing measures in place

In a bid to curb its spread, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced earlier this week new ‘social distancing’ measures, which mean changes in the way we work, the way our partners work and will affect us all.

These new measures include: if anyone in your household develops a fever or persistent cough, you must all stay home for 14 days; everyone is advised to stop all non-essential contact with others – this is especially important for the over 70s, people with underlying health conditions and pregnant women; work from home if you can and avoid pubs, clubs and theatres. And as of this evening, all UK schools will close from this Friday for the foreseeable future.

How communities can help

We’d like to urge everyone to continue to look out for friends, family, neighbours and the community, but most of all yourself. It’s important you stay safe, so you can continue to help others.

If you are aware of local social media ‘Coronavirus’ groups, please continue to share them on Facebook or with the local town/parish council, as this ensures help is received by those in the community who need it most.

Also, please remind people who need support to:

  • Not put a sign on your door openly stating you are vulnerable
  • Don’t share more personal information than absolutely necessary
  • Don’t share bank or card details or give people your cards to make purchases
  • Contact the organisers of the group if someone asks you to pay more for something than you normally would.

Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK is compiling a list of local groups set up on social media in an effort to share learning, resources and support. To find out what groups may be in your area, or to register a group, go to:

The Community Council for Somerset (community / village agents) are already working in communities with different groups and individuals to make sure the vulnerable are identified and supported. Local village agent details can be found at

‘Spark Somerset’ are also looking at what support they can provide to voluntary sector organisations and community groups locally, including looking to identify charities who may be needing help from volunteers. To find out more visit:

To keep up-to-date with all the latest information, visit the NHS site at