The government has published new guidance for the adult social care sector on preventing the spread of coronavirus.
The guidance covers methods to lower risk of infection in residential and community settings, as well as details on the appropriate procedures when an employee or client becomes unwell and believes they have been exposed to the virus.
The advice, which can be found here, was published on Tuesday, and since then, two more patients have tested positive for coronavirus in England.
This brings the total number of UK cases to 15.
The patients have been transferred to specialist NHS infection centres in Liverpool and London, the Department of Health and Social Care said.
England’s chief medical officer professor Chris Whitty said the virus was passed on while they were in Italy and Tenerife.
Of the 13 people who had previously tested positive for Covid-19, eight have now been discharged from hospital.
The guidance states that the best way social care professionals can prevent infection is to wash their hands often or use an alcohol hand sanitiser; avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth; and clean and disinfect touched objects and surfaces.
The Department of Health and Social Care says that if a member of staff becomes unwell and has travelled to China or other affected countries, the unwell person should be moved to an area which is at least two metres away from other people.
The individual who is unwell should call NHS 111 from their mobile, or 999 if an emergency, explain which country they have returned from in the last 14 days and outline their current symptoms.
Home care staff should ascertain if a client is in self-isolation and if they are asymptomatic or symptomatic prior to their visit, the guidance says.
“If they are self -isolating and a visit is deemed necessary, then a full risk assessment should be undertaken with managers and infection control specialist to decide the best course of action,” the advice continues.
“If the staff, member of the public or resident has not been to specified areas in the last 14 days, then normal practice should continue.”
United Kingdom Homecare Association has circulated the guidance to its members.