Personal Care Services: Coronavirus

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 15th April 2021.

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Photo of William Wragg William Wragg Chair, Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Chair, Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that the Department’s guidance for close contact services in England is consistent with the latest evidence on covid-19 transmissibility; and what the evidential basis for advising against the provision of newspapers and magazines for clients is, as referenced in section 5.2 of that guidance.

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)

We continue to keep the Safer Working guidance under constant review and will update the guidance in line with new scientific evidence as it arises. Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive have advised that there is currently no scientific evidence to support changing the Safer Working guidance in light of the new variants.

PHE guidance states that Covid-19 spreads from person to person through small droplets, aerosols and through direct contact. Surfaces and belongings can also be contaminated with Covid-19 when people with the infection cough or sneeze or touch them. The risk of spread is greatest when people are close to each other, especially in poorly ventilated indoor spaces and when people spend a lot of time together in the same room.

Given that client waiting areas are high traffic with frequent contact on common surface areas, we recommend not providing shared reading materials to reduce transmission risk via surface contact. Individuals can bring their own reading materials that they have purchased but we advise businesses to not provide sharing copies due to the frequent change of hands.

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