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Covid-19 Virus (Coronavirus)

CORONAVIRUS UPDATED 27th August 2020

As the Coronavirus pandemic develops, advice from the government and NHS is changing from day to day. On this page we attempt to interpret the latest information and advice into guidance for people with AT and their families and carers.

More information can be found on our Frequently Asked Questions sheet

Telling the NHS about AT and Coronavirus

If you need to contact the NHS about a possible case of Coronavirus in someone with AT, you must tell them about AT. If you are not sure what to say, we have prepared a document to help you here.

AT and Covid-19 – Advice and Support Webinar

Our planned recorded webinar has been delayed so instead, Anne has created a short video to go through some of your questions and offer suggestions/tips.  The main precautions you are still advised to take are as follows:
  • Communicate with schools/colleges/employers to discuss risk assessments and Covid-19 plans for each environment – The general consensus between the AT Society and our clinicians in Nottingham, is that children with AT can go back to school
  • Maintain social distancing (2m plus if possible)
  • Wear face coverings if you can
  • Vigilant hand washing routine
  • Making sure you/your child do all regular treatments e.g. chest physio exercises
  • Avoid any second hand smoke exposure
  • Ensure influenza vaccine is given to the whole family and child early in the season
Please note the disclaimer at the beginning and end of the video clip – this video is purely informational, it is not meant to replace professional medical advice.  Thank you.

Updates to shielding guidance

As you are aware, general Shielding advice in the UK has already been (or is due to be) paused.  In England, Scotland and N. Ireland Shielding was paused from 1st August.  In Wales, it will be from 16th August.  More information on Shielding can be found here:

Advice on the Republic of Ireland’s Cocooning guidance has also been relaxed, but some restrictions are still in place. More detail can be found here:

Despite the general relaxing of Shielding there are, and will continue to be, exceptions to the overall advice when community outbreaks are identified in different parts of the country.  If you live in one of these areas, you should be contacted by the Government/NHS Shielding service and given specific advice on what to do. However, we would also urge you to look at your local councils website to find out the specific measures in place for your locality. You can find your local council details using your postcode here:

We have been advised that the Shielded Patient List (SPL) will still be maintained whilst the shielding programme is paused, because the government/NHS may need to advise people to shield again if there is an increase in transmission of coronavirus in any community.

We have also been informed that conversations should take place with families of every child/young person on the SPL before the start of the new school term, to discuss whether they are still considered clinically extremely vulnerable.

All children and young people currently included on the SPL should also be reviewed by their clinical team, with reference to the new advice from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Face coverings

While there is evidence that face coverings help prevent people carrying the virus from spreading it, wearing a mask or cover will not necessarily protect you from catching it from other people.

Please remember social distancing and vigilant hand hygiene remain extremely important. Make sure you take all steps to avoid the possibility of infection and don’t let the face covering lull you into a false sense of security.

England: Wearing a face covering will become mandatory in shops and supermarkets in England from Friday 24th July. People not wearing a face covering can be fined up to £100, but reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days for a first offence. Face coverings are not required in places where it’s not practical e.g. pubs, cafes or restaurants. Children under 11 yrs. old and those with certain jobs or disabilities are exempt.

Scotland: Wearing face coverings in enclosed spaces has been compulsory in Scotland since 10th July. Anyone not wearing one can be issued an on the spot fixed penalty notice of £60 – this can increase if there are continued breaches. People with certain medical conditions or disabilities, and children under five are exempt.

Face covering rules on public transport:

England: Since 15th June, anyone travelling by bus, train, ferry or plane in England must wear a face covering. Some passengers are exempt from the rules including:

  • Children under 11
  • People with disabilities
  • Those with breathing difficulties
  • Anyone travelling with someone who relies on lip reading

If it is “reasonably necessary” for you to eat or drink, you can remove the face covering to do so.

People can be refused travel if they don’t follow the rules, and can be fined as a last resort. Public transport excludes cruise ships, school transport, taxis and private hire vehicles. However, ride-sharing company Uber has made face coverings compulsory.

Scotland: It is compulsory to wear face coverings on all public transport

Wales: Coverings will be made mandatory on public transport from 27th July. These coverings should be made from cotton and three layers thick. It’s also recommended that coverings are worn whenever social distancing is not possible.

Northern Ireland: The wearing of face coverings on most buses, trains and ferries became mandatory in Northern Ireland on 10th July.

Republic of Ireland: Face coverings have been required on public transport since Monday 13th July.
Wearing a cloth face covering is also recommended in situations where it is difficult to practise social distancing, for example in shops.

If a person with AT or one of the family develops symptoms of the virus

If someone with AT (or a close family member) shows any symptoms of the virus, contact 111 as soon as possible. Explain that the person has AT and what that means (refer them to our website).

We also strongly advise that you let us know via support@atsociety.org.uk or by phoning 01582 760733 so that we can make sure you have the relevant information and support. If you have contact details for the Nottingham and Papworth clinics you can contact them directly.

If you have concerns about your child’s health

We have received a message from the British Association of Childhood Disability, forwarded to us by the team at Nottingham. It says that many paediatricians are concerned that children are presenting late to paediatric emergency departments due to worries about exposure to Covid-19 or not wanting to be a drain on NHS resources. There is a risk that delays may be dangerous for the child and also increase the demand for critical care.

They have asked us to underline that paediatric emergency departments are safe and functioning well. If parents have serious concerns about their child’s health they should contact their GP and not be afraid to use the paediatric emergency department when it is required.

It is particularly important where children have long term or recurrent respiratory problems and difficulties with chest clearance to make sure you know who to call in the event of a deterioration when admission to hospital might be advisable. If you have any concerns about this, please do contact us on 01582 760733.

And finally…

This page provides the latest information and advice that we have. However, we cannot cover every aspect of the condition and as we have said there is a lot that is not yet known.

So our last piece of advice is to read what you can and then use your common sense. The AT Society will be here right through the emergency to talk to, to give information and guidance and, where we can, practical support. If you do have further questions or want to talk anything though, please contact us.