Official advice

Page updated on 28/05/2020

Not all information in the media and social media sites about coronavirus is reliable. For official updates and guidance please check:

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has a dedicated webpage for Family Carers Support During Coronavirus

The Government has launched a Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp. The free service aims to provide official, trustworthy and timely information and advice about coronavirus (COVID-19). Topics include: 

  • Coronavirus prevention and symptoms 
  • Latest number of cases in the UK 
  • Advice on staying at home 
  • Travel advice 
  • Myth busting 

To use the service, add 07860 064422 to your phone contacts, then send a message with the word ‘hi’ to that number. You will be sent a menu of options to choose from.

Clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus

The Government has written to people who are extremely vulnerable to coronavirus. If you or someone you care for has received that letter, register with the Government at and they will endeavour to help you.

If you or someone you care for has not received a letter from the Government, but you believe they are extremely vulnerable to coronavirus, you can register at There is a checklist of eligible medical conditions.  You need to provide the following details for the person being registered; age, address, contact details and NHS number.

For further advice contact your GP.

If you need help from Southend Carers to register someone, please email us at or call 01702 393933, leave a message and we will call you back.

Advice on mental health and wellbeing can be found at the following link;

Guidance for the public on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Key Government guidance for carers:



    Anyone in England experiencing a new, continuous cough, high temperature or a loss of or change in your normal sense of smell or taste can book a test by visiting 

    Those unable to access the internet can call 119 in England to book a test. 


    The way that patients are discharged from hospitals has changed. Patients will still receive high quality care from acute and community hospitals, for 95% of patients leaving hospital with a need for ongoing support, the assessment and organising of ongoing care will take place when they are in their own home.

    Further details can be found in the following government publications;

    COVID-19 Hospital Discharge Service Requirements, particularly chapter 2. What does this mean for patients? and Hospital Discharge Information leaflet.

    Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust are looking at what they can do between now and the end of June to start to treat patients who need urgent care, and those who have been waiting the longest for planned treatment. After June they will start looking at how they re-start all of their business as usual services, while continuing to deal with COVID-19. 


    Local NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups have been made aware of increased demands on practice staff to process early requests for repeat medication.

    Whilst they understand that members of the public are feeling anxious, they would like to remind those requiring repeat prescriptions to only order what they need, when they need it. This will help make sure everyone can continue to get the medication they need. There is currently no shortage of medicines.

    You can follow the local Clinical Commissioning Groups on Facebook:

    DWP Benefits – assessments

    The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has temporarily suspended all face-to-face assessments for health and disability-related benefits. This is aimed at reducing the risk of exposure to coronavirus and safeguarding the health of individuals claiming health and disability benefits.

    If you already have an assessment appointment arranged, you do not need to attend. Your assessment provider will contact you to discuss your appointment and explain the next steps to you.

    If you have made a claim for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Universal Credit or Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) but do not have a date for an assessment appointment, you do not need to do anything. You will be contacted by the DWP.

    If you are already receiving PIP, ESA, Universal Credit or IIDB you will continue to receive your current payments as normal.

    If you are considering making a claim for Universal Credit, Employment & Support Allowance or Jobseekers Allowance, please make a claim online in the first instance. DO NOT attend your local Jobcentre. Whilst Jobcentres remain open, they may have significantly reduced staffing and their priority will be to support people who are not able to use telephone and online services. Additionally, people already receiving benefits do not have to attend any Jobcentre appointments for at least 3 months, starting from Thursday 19 March 2020.

    DWP Visiting Service has suspended all routine face-to-face home visits but will be prioritising visits for customers who are most vulnerable, ensuring that benefit payments can be made or safeguarding checks undertaken.

    For full and up-to-date details, visit the DWP’s Coronavirus page at and the Government’s Coronavirus support for employees, benefit claimants and businesses.

    Council tax

    Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has announced a further £150 council tax discount for those already in receipt of council tax reduction. Those who can pay their council tax should continue to do so, but anyone facing concerns about their council tax bill should in the first instance visit the dedicated webpage. If you need further support please email to request a callback from the team to discuss your options.