We’ve put all of the latest useful information on Coronavirus and people with sight loss in one place so you can find what you’re looking for quickly.
Government guidelines on Coronavirus…
You can find the latest NHS health advice about Coronavirus (COVID-19) by clicking here
You can find the latest from Welsh Government on Coronavirus by clicking here
You can find information on the firebreak lockdown restrictions by clicking here
Other sources of information on Coronavirus
For frequently asked questions for people with sight loss, their family and friends relating to COVID-19 click here
Wales Council of the Blind have some useful information here
Diabetic Eye Screening
Public Health Wales announced on 1 September that diabetic eye screening restarts this month in clinics across Wales – you can find more information about this here. Public Health Wales is also running a survey about diabetic eye screening that is now available online here. Further information about the restarting of other screening services will be available in the coming weeks.
Eye health during coronavirus
Concerned about your eye health during coronavirus? Whether it’s a regular or follow-up appointment, or emergency advice or treatment, RNIB has put together some helpful advice and guidance on eye health during coronavirus in one handy document. Access it here
Face coverings and sight loss
From Monday 14 September, in Wales, face coverings will be required in all indoor public places. This will apply to both customers and staff working in those indoor public areas. This includes a very wide range of locations, such as shops and shopping centres, places of worship, hairdressers and salons, cinemas and museums, gyms and leisure centres, and anywhere that is open to members of the public. It would also include any public areas within buildings that are otherwise closed to the public – for example a reception area of an office building. The only indoor public areas where face coverings will not be required are where you are inside a place to eat or drink, for example, cafés, restaurants and pubs.
If you have concerns about wearing a face covering, shop around. There are many different styles and types available. People who wear hearing aids may struggle with the ear elastic. You could consider using a version that ties behind the head or you could use an ear saver (a small strip of fabric which has a button at either end for the elastic to loop around instead of your ears). If you find it difficult to breathe, some masks have vents or filters that might be helpful. You might also find it beneficial to buy a mask that is more moulded and therefore sits slightly away from the mouth and nose. It is worth shopping around as there are many options in a wide range of prices. Practice taking one on and off, and wear one around the house first so you are comfortable and familiar with how it feels.
If your disability means that you cannot wear one, you are exempt from the requirement. The Government guidance specifies, in particular, an exemption for someone with a visual impairment whose residual vision would be obscured by a face covering. Exemption cards and badges, which you can print off or put on your phone to show other people that you are exempt along with a full list of exemptions can be found on the GOV.UK face coverings web page. Further guidance for Wales can be found here.
Fraud and Scams
The coronavirus pandemic has led to criminals exploiting worried and vulnerable people and obtaining personal and financial information by deception. Read our guide to avoiding fraud and scams.
Mindfulness and coronavirus
Many people are struggling with anxiety at the moment. In response to this, Public Health Wales has launched Activate your life, a free online course. This free course is designed to help you improve your mental health and wellbeing. Feeling worried or anxious can have a big impact on your health and for some people life can be particularly difficult, and mindfulness can help to allay feelings of anxiety. To access the course, click here.
Please Give me Space
In the early months of lockdown, it became clear that for some people with different disabilities and conditions, including those with sight loss, maintaining social distancing was incredibly challenging. For many, it was causing significantly increased levels of stress and anxiety. So, following consultation, the Please Give Me Space (PGMS) tool was developed by RNIB and the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Scheme, with support from the Cabinet Office. It was created as an option to be used by anyone who may have a hidden disability or anyone who feels that they may need support with social distancing when out shopping, walking or socialising. It was designed to act as a reminder the public to be mindful and give space to help keep each other safe.
The PGMS symbol of a person in-between two double-headed arrows on a yellow circle background has been adapted to be used in a range of formats, allowing the wearer to pick the item best suited to their needs. The words ‘Please give me space’ are also often seen in conjunction with the sign. The PGMS symbol has been adopted by the Cabinet Office and is available as a card to print or mobile phone badge as a free download from the government website. But for anyone that wants to wear a PGMS item, the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Scheme (makers of the Sunflower lanyard) have now launched a product range of accessories with the symbol incorporated in the design. The wearer can decide what item within the range, best works for them. For more information and to order click here.
For some information on travelling by train and on Cardiff bus, please click here.
Morrisons has a dedicated order line for the elderly or vulnerable. Simply call 0345 611 6111 and select option five to place your order through the service. Be aware that you will need to pay via contactless payment when your shopping is delivered. Tesco also has a dedicated order line for vulnerable customers. Call 0800 917 7359 to access priority delivery slots. Asda, Waitrose and Sainsburys have all introduced a Volunteer Shopping Card Scheme so that vulnerable customers don’t have to give cash to volunteers. These can be ordered via their websites. Sainsburys and Waitrose also have a phone number if you are not able to order via the internet. Call Sainsburys on 0371 200 1597. Call Waitrose on 0330 123 0350.
Social distancing and sight loss
People with sight loss struggle to social distance. Not everyone has a guide dog or uses a white cane, so not every visual impairment is obvious. The Partially Sighted Society has produced some bright yellow lanyards for people with sight loss to wear when they are out and about to make other people aware that the wearer is visually impaired and is unable to socially distance. We have some on order so call us on 029 2039 8900 if you would like to purchase one for £2.00.
Testing for coronavirus
If you have developed one of the following symptoms, you may have coronavirus:
- a new continuous cough
- a high temperature
- loss of or change to sense of smell or taste
If you develop one of these symptoms follow the self-isolation guidance and book a coronavirus test. The test is only effective for those who are experiencing coronavirus symptoms and needs to be taken in the first five days of having symptoms. It only checks if you have coronavirus right now and not if you have already had the virus. Click here to find out hot to apply for a test.
Information for your area
Cardiff County Council coronavirus information
Caerphilly Council coronavirus information
Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council coronavirus information
Neath Port Talbot Council coronavirus information
Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council coronavirus information
Swansea Council coronavirus information