BDSUS COVID-19 Advice

REMINDER ON LIVING WITH COVID-19 

As both the UK and US are currently experiencing another wave of COVID-19 infections the MOD has issued a reminder regarding UK Government and Defence procedures to help keep you and your colleagues safe.

As of Friday 15 July 22, the Office for National Statistics reports that there are approximately 3.5 million cases in the UK, or approximately 1 in 20 of the population are infected. It is likely we will continue to experience high levels of infections for several weeks. While the latest COVID-19 Variants of Concern (Omicron sub-variants ‘BA.4’ and ‘BA.5’) responsible for this wave are no more severe than in January, they will place pressure on the workforce through illness and absence. In the US COVID-19 cases, deaths, and hospitalisations are on the rise, driving COVID-19 Community Levels up to medium or high in 75% of counties. Omicron BA.5 is the predominant variant, causing an estimated 78% of cases. BA.5 has fuelled the rapid rise in cases since June, suggesting that it spreads more easily than previous Omicron lineages.

HMG guidance continues to be: People with symptoms of a respiratory infection, including COVID-19, and a high temperature or those who do not feel well enough to go to work or carry out normal activities should stay at home and avoid contact with other people.

Anyone with a positive COVID-19 test result are advised to try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for five days, which is when they are most infectious.

In Defence, you should in most circumstances stay at home and avoid contact with others if you have tested positive or have symptoms. Only in exceptional circumstances (and if you feel well enough) should you attend the workplace if your role cannot be carried out remotely. This will only apply in a small number of niche, key operational or safety critical roles and must be supported by a risk assessment and with mitigations put in place.

COVID-19 Latest.  With effect from Sunday, June 12 2022 the US ended the pre-departure COVID-19 test requirement for US-bound air travellers.  This effectively ended all major international COVID-19 protection measures between the UK and US.  Information on this change can be found on the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.  The UK Government has now effectively lifted all COVID-19 restrictions as the focus shifts to living with the disease now that hospitalisations through infection are largely under control. We are not quite out of the woods yet, so:  

  • It is still highly recommended that everyone is vaccinated and remains up to date with boosters.  New vaccinations for children under 5 are at parental discretion. 
  • You are advised to follow prevention measures as directed by local authorities and we will notify any new guidance when provided.  
  • If you feel the symptoms or have a positive test result and therefore have an infection you should still isolate (5 days) and inform your close contacts to avoid spreading the disease to others.  
  • Your workplace may also employ other preventative measures and you should continue to comply with these fully.
  • If you have any questions having reviewed the above advice, please contact the BDS USSG HealthEd Team at: [email protected] 

EMBASSY STAFF. Personnel working in the BEW who have tested positive for COVID-19, are to write to the benefits enquiries inbox informing of the date they tested positive and whether or not they are symptomatic. The staff will then follow up asking a few basic questions for COVID-19 tracking including whether or not the employee who tested positive has any close contacts at the Embassy. If they did, we will get in touch with those close contacts separately keeping the positive employee anonymous.

Any employees with COVID-19 are asked to follow the most up to date CDC guidelines: COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation | CDC

Please refer to the following guidance in-line with their personal circumstance. This guidance is regardless of vaccination status.    

  • Day 0 is the date of positive test result. Day 1 is the first full day after test specimen collected.  
  • If asymptomatic and remains asymptomatic then we recommend self-isolation for 5 days followed by 5 days of mask wearing when around others.    
  • If symptomatic, then end isolation after 5 full days if fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and other symptoms have improved (loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation)  

If fever continues and other symptoms have not improved after 5 days of isolation, wait to end isolation until fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved. Continue to wear a well-fitting mask.

Last Updated: 9 December, 2021

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