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Thu 24 Sept 2020:
Your regular update from Reading Borough Council on our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and how you can help
A message from Reading Borough Council leader Jason Brock
The latest coronavirus measures brought in earlier this week by the Government were a stark reminder that we all need to do more to help bring the virus under control, or risk the return to higher infection rates and even tighter restrictions which could affect us all.
 
Today the NHS Covid-19 app launched, and we encourage residents to download the app and help protect those you love.
 
 
By downloading and using the app, you’ll be helping protect those around you – friends, family, colleagues and the local community. There is more information explaining how the app works and how it can help here.
 
Something that will be on the minds of some residents in these challenging times is the return of university students this week. We have been working closely with the University of Reading and other partners around students returning safely, and understand the concerns of people in the local community. As well as aiming to reduce risks of COVID-19 transmission, there are robust plans to respond if an outbreak occurs. You can read more about the university’s COVID-19 preparations here, and see below for more information on the students’ return.
 
It is more important than ever to get your flu vaccine if you are eligible, as adults at high risk from flu are also most at risk from COVID-19. New PHE research suggests that risk of death more than doubled for people who tested positive for both flu & COVID-19, compared to those with COVID-19 alone. This year 30m people will be offered the free flu vaccination - find out below if you are eligible.

There has been good news recently on services reopening. Following our recent successful reopening of Central Library, Reading Museum reopened on Tuesday 8 September, initially with a reduced service and opening hours. We must emphasise that whilst the service has reopened, it will not represent a return to normality for some time to come, and it has necessitated operating at a reduced level to accommodate safety measures. Visitors to the museum need to book in advance and follow safety guidance during their visit, such as wearing masks. More information on the Museum’s services at this current time is below.
 
Swimming sessions at Meadway Sports Centre are beginning again next week, whilst South Reading Leisure Centre is increasing the number of sessions it offers. Your place must be booked in advance, and you can view all the session times available at both centres here.
 
Finally, as part of Reading Culture Live, next Thursday is Reading’s Older People’s Day, which will take place online this year. You can find out more below on what will be taking place and how you can get involved.

The NHS COVID-19 App - All You Need To Know

The new NHS COVID-19 app, now available to download for free in England and Wales, is the fastest way to see if you're at risk from coronavirus. The faster you know, the quicker you can alert and protect your loved ones and community.
 
The app has a number of tools to protect you, entirely anonymously, including contact tracing, local area alerts and QR venue check-in. Any data shared within the app is held on the user’s phone.
 
Designated businesses and organisations, including hospitality, close contact services and leisure venues, will be legally required to log details of customers, visitors and staff for NHS Test and Trace and from Thursday 24 September they will be required to display official NHS QR code posters under law.
 
The app is part of the NHS Test and Trace service, it alerts people at risk of coronavirus, asking them to isolate before they potentially pass the virus on to others and a key means of protecting individuals and communities - protecting the ones we love. Features of the app include risk alerts by postcode, symptom checker and test booking. 

The more people that do the right thing - by using the app, and self-isolating when alerted - the more we keep each other safe and stop infection rates rising. The app does not collect any personal information, uses low-energy Bluetooth (not GPS), and only requires the first half of your postcode to ensure local outbreaks can be managed. 
 
Let’s do the right thing for Reading and keep Reading safe. Download the NHS Covid-19 app today.

The 'Flu Vaccine - Are You Eligible?


 
‘Just’ the flu? Flu is a serious condition that kills on average 11,000 people in England each year. There’s no just about it. It's more important than ever to get your vaccine if you're eligible - adults at high risk from flu are also most at risk from COVID-19. New PHE research suggests that risk of death more than doubled for people who tested positive for both flu & COVID-19, compared to those with COVID-19 alone.
 
Lots of people can get a flu vaccine for free such as people aged 65 or over, people with certain medical conditions and pregnant women.
 
This year 30 million people will be offered the free flu vaccination this year, including:
▪️ Year 7 pupils
▪️ All health and social care workers who have direct contact with people they care for
▪️ household contacts of people on the NHS shielded patient list
 
Find out if you're eligible: www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/flu-influenza-vaccine
Bringing Students Back Safely To The University Of Reading

This week, students have been returning to the University of Reading after months of preparation. Changes include: 
  • providing course content that would usually be delivered through large classes online, complemented by  in-person teaching in smaller groups;
  • making our campus COVID-secure, including installing 600 hand sanitising stations and thousands of signs;
  • forming 'household groups' within halls of residence, in which students can live and socialise safely together;
  • providing socially distanced activities and facilities on campus.
The University has been working closely with the Council and other partners about students returning safely, and understands the concerns of people in the local community. As well as aiming to reduce risks of COVID-19 transmission, there are robust plans to respond if an outbreak occurs. Read more about the university's Covid preparations. 
Students are regularly being reminded of the importance of following the government legislation and guidelines and we have established a new COVID-19 Support & Behaviour Team. If you have concerns or comments, good or bad, please email community@reading.ac.uk or call 0118 378 6813. 

As a world-leading centre for research and learning, the University of Reading has been working to tackle the coronavirus and its impacts. For example, its scientists are helping develop treatments, and hundreds of students have volunteered to help local charities. Read more about the university's work to beat Covid-19.  
Reading Museum Open To The Public
Following our recent successful reopening of Central Library, our much-loved Reading Museum and Museum Shop reopened on Tuesday 8 September. This is initially with a reduced service and opening hours.
 
The safety of the public and our staff remains our top priority. Our hard-working staff have spent a great deal of time ensuring every preventative measure against the virus has been carefully thought out.
 
The Museum is now open Tuesday to Saturday 10am – 4pm. The shop hours have reduced to match Museum opening times.
 
We must emphasise that whilst the service has reopened, it will not represent a return to normality for some time to come, and it has necessitated operating at a reduced level to accommodate safety measures. Visitors to the museum need to book in advance and follow safety guidance during their visit, such as wearing masks, following one-way systems and using the hand sanitiser we provide.
 
There will still be lots to see and enjoy. There will be special children’s trails available for families to follow. The Museum’s popular ‘Animal: World Art Journeys’ exhibition in the Art Gallery has also been extended.
 
You can book in advance online. Anyone who cannot access bookings online can call 0118 9373400 during opening hours.
To find out more, including opening times and to book a visit, click here.
Older People's Day - Thursday 1 October


Reading Older People’s Day is a virtual event happening on Thursday 1 October.
The Older People’s Day Memory Project captured a snapshot of this unique period we are living in, and how it has affected the older people of Reading. You can read or listen to a compilation of the contributions received
here on the day itself, where you will also be able to see the programme. This will include a live virtual coffee morning at 10:30am, and we would love to see you and hear how you have been getting on. You can now book your place for the live event.
 
KEEP UP TO DATE WITH THE LATEST COVID-19 RESPONSE NEWS FROM READING BOROUGH COUNCIL

With the latest advice and service information changing regularly, you can keep up to date by following our dedicated page to the Covid-19 response here: https://www.reading.gov.uk/coronavirus
Please also follow us on Facebook and Twitter (links below) for regular updates.
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