Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Advice for people with diabetes and their families

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Wales updates on Covid-19 information for people with diabetes

This page is specifically about guidance for people affected by diabetes living in Wales. We will continue to share relevant information provided by the Welsh Government, NHS Wales (GIG Cymru), Public Health Wales and others.

We have more information and advice about how coronavirus (Covid-19) can affect people with diabetes, including what to do if you become unwell and what self-isolating and shielding mean. This is being updated regularly with new information as it becomes available.

Updates from the Welsh Government

The Welsh government has a regular briefings which are held at 12:30pm and can be viewed online at any time or live on the Welsh government’s twitter account @WelshGovernment

What are the most recent changes to the coronavirus regulations?

The "circuit breaker" or "firebreak" lockdown

From 6:00pm on Friday 23 October until 0:01am on Monday 9 November, all of Wales will go into a "circuit breaker" or "firebreak" lockdown.

This means that all leisure, hospitality and non-essential retail will have to close for 16 days, and people will need to stay at home wherever possible. It also means that you will not be able to meet up with people from outside your household, even outside. The only exception is for adults living alone and who single parents do not live with any other adults, They are able to bubble with one other household.

What if I need medical help during the "circuit breaker" or "firebreak" lockdown?

Welsh government have been clear, the NHS is still open for those who need it.

If you need care it is important you continue to attend appointments and seek help for urgent medical issues. You can leave your home to access local health services, including your GP surgery, dentist, optometrist or any other health service. 

You should try to phone beforehand and follow any guidance your local service has put in place to protect you and their staff, including the need to stay socially distant from other patients.

Local lockdowns

Since the start of September, a number of local authorities in Wales have been put into a local lockdown. This means there are further restrictions on what you can do, and who you can meet with.

Local authorities have announced that a local lockdown has been, or will be, introduced in the following areas:

South Wales

North Wales

Rules will apply to each of these local areas. The restrictions will cover all those who live and work in the area, as well as those who wish to visit. Find out more about the different local lockdown restrictions.

If you're looking for help or support as a result of a lockdown, or for any other reason, you can give our confidential helpline a call. Our highly trained advisors can talk you through specialist information and provide advice on all aspects of living with diabetes. 

Travelling to Wales

If you do not live in Wales but were planning to visit, Welsh rules may currently prohibit this. Travelling into Wales from an area with high rates of coronavirus is now against the rules. Those found breaking the rules may be subject to a fine.

Financial support during coronavirus

If you are looking for financial help to pay your bills during the coronavirus pandemic then there is a new Welsh Government advice outlining the different types of financial support that may be available to you. This includes the Discretionary Assistance Fund, which is aimed specifically at people who have:

  • lost their job
  • had a flood or fire in your home
  • applied for benefits and waiting for your first payment
  • been experiencing financial hardship.

Those who were previously shielding

People who are "extremely clinically vulnerable" no longer have to shield. If you were shielding you will continue to receive periodic letters with updates and information from the Chief Medical Officer for Wales, the most recent of which gives new guidance regarding the "circuit breaker" or "firebreak" lockdown starting in October.

You can still read the guidance sent to those who were shielding from 16 August on what precautions to take now that shielding has ended in Wales.

Although the delivery of food boxes has come to an end, you should still be able to book priority delivery slots with supermarkets. 

If you still need support accessing food after the 16 August and you do not have anyone to help you, you should speak with your local council

Those who are at “increased risk” or “clinically vulnerable”

People with diabetes who are not shielding are still at “increased risk” or “clinically vulnerable” to coronavirus. People in this category have been advised to take additional care in following the existing guidance for the general public. 

Thanks to your help in asking for better guidance, Welsh government have developed a information for people who are at "increased risk" or "clinically vulnerable"  as well as an online risk assessment tool and an online support tool to help you find the support you need.

Can I visit family and friends?

If you do not live in an area that is under a "local lockdown" then up to four households are able to join together to form one singe "extended household".

However, from 6pm on Friday 23 October until 0:01am on Monday 9 November, all of Wales will be under a "circuit breaker" or "firebreak" lockdown. This means that you will not be able to meet with anyone from outside your household at all, even outside. The only exceptions are for adults and single parents who otherwise live alone, these people can continue to bubble with one other household only.

You must continue to maintain social distancing when out and about, and only travel where necessary. You can find out more about the plan to ease restrictions in the Welsh government's framework for recovery

Should I go back to work?

Current advice in Wales is that if you can work from home you should continue to do so.

For the period of time Wales is under a "circuit breaker" or "firebreak" lockdown, you must work from home if you can. Those found to be breaking the rules may be subject to a fine. 

The Welsh government have published regulations for employees and employers during coronavirus. These regulations give employers additional obligations to ensure that your workplace is safe, including the 2m rule which must be adhered to at all times.

Welsh Government have also confirmed to Diabetes UK Cymru that they expect employers to take individuals’ health conditions into consideration when undertaking the risk assessments require to reopen. If your workplace is indoors and open to the public, wearing a face mask is now compulsory for both staff and the public.

However, many people in Wales have told us they are still unsure of what to do if they cannot work from home, but are told to go back to work. You should only go back to work where it is safe to do so, and in keeping with government guidance. If you are unsure about your level of risk and what is safe for you to do, then you should talk to your local GP. 

The Welsh government has now produced further, more detailed guidance which outlines the measures employers and employees should be taking to reduce risks in different types of workplace. Depending on the sort of place in which you usually work, there may be specific guidance for you and your employer. We recommend people look for information that is relevant to them on the Welsh Government website.

Can I be put on furlough because of my diabetes?

We realise that there may be people living with diabetes who do not feel comfortable returning to work yet. For some, exposure to coronavirus still comes with a very high risk. That is why we are campaigning with several other charities, including Age UK and Kidney Care UK, to extend the option of furlough for workers in the clinically vulnerable and shielding groups. 

Together, we have started a petition to the UK government asking for an extension to furlough for workers, who along with their employer, do not feel they would be safe returning to the workplace.

The UK government responded to our petition on 24 August, and stated that those who are in the shielding category (extremely clinically vulnerable) are still able to be furloughed flexibly to support working from home, under the UK government's furlough scheme.

The furlough scheme will finish at the end of October. However the new system of financial support for businesses will come into force from the start of November. 

My workplace isn’t adhering to the rules, who should I tell?

It is important that those who are unable to work from home are able to return to safe working environments.

Those seeking further advice are recommended to contact the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, also known as ACAS. ACAS have a dedicated coronavirus webpage, or you can contact them on 0300 123 1100.

The Wales TUC have also launched an online Whistleblowing hotline for any worker who may wish to report coronavirus related health and safety concerns. This service is available to anyone, regardless or not of whether they are a member of a trade union.

Updates from Public Health Wales

Public Health Wales has published the Welsh Government’s guidance on self-isolation.

Updates from NHS Wales

Many routine screening appointments, including foot appointments and retinopathy (eye) screening, have been paused while NHS Wales focuses all its resources on fighting coronavirus. So it is important to be extra vigilant in taking care of yourself at home, be aware of any new symptoms and contact your healthcare team if you have any concerns.

Looking after yourself

We have lots of information to help you look after your diabetes yourself, depending on who you are and what type of diabetes you have:

  • If you're at risk of developing type 2 diabetes - take a look at our guide to reducing your risk. You can also watch these videos on prediabetes.
  • For people with type 1 diabetes - watch our video explaining type 1 diabetes, and log in to our Learning Zone to find tailored courses to help you learn about your type 1.
  • If you have type 2 diabetes - find out what type 2 diabetes means, and get personalised videos and interactive courses in our Learning Zone to help you learn things like what to eat. You can also watch these videos about type 2 in different languages.
  • Women living with gestational diabetes - find out what causes gestational diabetes and how to manage it. You can also watch these videos on coping with gestational diabetes.
  • How to look after your feet - this is important for everyone, no matter what type of diabetes you have. Find out how to prevent foot problems with this video showing how to check your feet.

Support for your mental health

If you're feeling overwhelmed or stressed, you're not alone. We've got lots of guidance on how to cope with certain emotions and how things like stress can affect your blood sugar levels. 

And whether you'd prefer to chat to others on our online forum or give one of our helpline team a call, we're here to support you.

You can always contact us directly here in Wales too.

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