COVID-19 Coronavirus, Advice and Updates



Latest information – UPDATED 4th June 2020



This page has been set up to provide information for current and future staff and residents at LHA with questions or concerns about coronavirus (COVID-19). It will be updated on a regular basis.

Stay alert

The health, welfare and safety of residents and staff is the number one priority for LHA London Ltd.

LHA has a strong history of welcoming international residents and staff to the UK, and they are an integral part of our international community.

We understand that residents and staff may be worried about friends and family members, and our thoughts go to all those affected by this outbreak.

We ask that residents and staff support their fellow friends and colleagues at this difficult time. Harassment and discrimination of any kind, including racial harassment, are totally unacceptable at any of our hostels.

Any instances of harassment should be reported immediately to staff.

UK Lockdown

On Sunday 10th May 2020 the UK government updated the lockdown measures in England changing from a ‘stay home’ message to a ‘stay alert’ message.

Stay alert

We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:

  • Stay at home as much as possible
  • Work from home if you can
  • Limit contact with other people
  • Keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.

The key changes for an individual either staff or resident are best summarised below.

There are a limited number of things individuals can now do that they could not do before:

  • spend time outdoors – for example sitting and enjoying the fresh air, picnicking, or sunbathing
  • meet one other person from a different household outdoors – following social distancing guidelines
  • exercise outdoors as often as you wish – following social distancing guidelines
  • use outdoor sports courts or facilities, such as a tennis or basketball court, or golf course – with members of your household, or one other person while staying 2 metres apart
  • go to a garden centre

At all times, you should continue to observe social distancing guidelines when you are outside your home, including ensuring you are 2 metres away from anyone outside your household. As with before, you cannot:

  • visit friends and family in their homes
  • exercise in an indoor sports court, gym or leisure centre, or go swimming in a public pool
  • use an outdoor gym or playground
  • visit a private or ticketed attraction

If you are showing coronavirus symptoms, or if you or any of your household are self-isolating, you should stay at home – this is critical to staying safe and saving lives.

Please visit the NHS website for full information about coronavirus, including answers to common questions.

Keeping Safe and Well

Information is being updated daily at 2pm on the Government website. Please check regularly for changes.

What is the current risk to the UK from coronavirus?

On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organisation declared the outbreak of a pandemic and the risk to the UK public has risen from moderate to high. The Government continues to advise stringent measures to slow the spread of the virus, reduce pressure on the NHS and protect the most vulnerable. Whilst new cases and deaths are falling the risk to the UK public is still high.

Key Points:

Staying alert and away from others

We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:

  • Stay at home as much as possible
  • Work from home if you can
  • Limit contact with other people
  • Keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.

Protecting Older People and Vulnerable Adults

Those who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) are advised to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures.

This group includes those who are:

  • aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
  • under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (ie anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds):
  • chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
  • chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
  • chronic kidney disease
  • chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
  • chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
  • diabetes
  • problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
  • a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
  • being seriously overweight (a BMI of 40 or above)
  • those who are pregnant

Self Isolating

  • if you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for at least 7 days from when your symptoms started.
  • after 7 days, if you do not have a high temperature, you do not need to continue to self-isolate. If you still have a high temperature, keep self-isolating until your temperature returns to normal. You do not need to self-isolate if you only have a cough or anosmia after 7 days, as these symptoms can last for several weeks after the infection has gone
  • if you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), then you must stay at home for at least 7 days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.
  • for anyone else in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for at least 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period.
  • staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community
  • if you have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms:
    • do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital
    • you do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home
    • testing for coronavirus (COVID-19) is not needed if you’re staying at home
  • if you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after 7 days, then use the NHS 111 online coronavirus (COVID-19) service. If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999
  • if you develop new coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms at any point after ending your first period of isolation (self or household) then you need to follow the same guidance on self-isolation again

What is LHA London doing about coronavirus?

LHA is acting on advice from sources including the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, World Health Organisation, the NHS and Public Health England. We have taken proactive steps to contact our residents and staff to ensure that everyone has access to the latest advice. We are monitoring the situation closely, have made plans to act quickly if the situation changes and will provide further updates as necessary. Following the UK governments updated guidance for working safely during the coronavirus we have completed working safely risk assessments for all our properties, Whilst each site will adjust the risk assessment to reflects the specifics of each property the generic base document can be viewed here.

Are hostels open and operating as usual?

We understand that staff, residents and their families are justifiably concerned about the coronavirus. LHA continues to monitor and adapt our operations in line with the advice being provided by the UK Government.

In line with the current guidance LHA whas made the following adjustments to its operations:

  • Receptions are staffed but security windows remain closed and we ask that wherever possible residents use either phone or email for all but emergency communication with the team. During this period accommodation charge payments will be processed over the phone.
  • We ask that residents respect the social distancing measures within our self-catered sites by not having more than two people in our kitchens and wherever possible aim for single use.
  • When residents are moving around our sites we ask they respect the 2 metre distancing rule.
  • Our catered sites are operating a take away service only and limiting the number of people in our dining rooms collecting meals/queueing.
  • We will continue to maintain our buildings on an emergency works only basis and would like to ask residents to bear with us on non-emergency repair works.
  • We will be asking residents who do not abide by the UK governments guidance to seek alternative accommodation.

Staff have been briefed to direct residents to this web page for the latest information and we have gathered details from our older and vulnerable residents so we can support them in following the governments advice.

We have robust plans in place to support the need for existing residents in our properties and this extends to residents returning from abroad who need to quarantine for 14 days.

We have closed our gyms in the hostels that have them in line with government advice.

Whilst we are proud of the fact we have so far operated safely during coronavirus we have not being completey protected from the impact and have had to temporarily close three of our properties Holland House (Victoria), New Mansion House (Lancaster Gate) and the Hounslow Central Hotel.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and we will continue to provide as much advice, care and support as we can to our staff and residents.

Supporting Our Residents, Employees and Volunteers

In these uncertain times, we want to thank all our residents, staff, maintenance teams and volunteers who continue to work to keep people safe and well.

At the same time, we urge everyone to follow the crucial advice being given. This includes abiding by the ‘lockdown’ protocols, observing social distancing, washing hands regularly and looking after the most vulnerable.

If you are one of our younger residents, and believe this doesn’t affect you, please consider the other people around you who may be considered high risk and more vulnerable to catching the virus.

If you are considered higher risk and have not self-isolated, please talk to our onsite teams who will assist you.

Employment and Financial Hardship

We recognise several of our residents have already lost their jobs and have been financially affected by this crisis. We will continue to review the government’s support measures as more information becomes available.  Anyone struggling to pay their accommodation charges should contact customerservices@lhalondon.com

Advice for residents and staff in the UK

How do I keep updated about the latest information regarding Covid-19 (coronavirus)?

As this is a rapidly evolving situation we are asking you to check this page regularly to keep informed of the latest advice. You may also find the following sites useful:

Do I need to take any precautionary measures?

There are 10 key points identified as measures everyone can take to prevent the spread of the virus, for the full detail follow the link below:

1. Keep your distance from people outside your household

Whilst recognising this will not always be possible, it is important to be aware that the risk of infection increases the closer you are to another person with the virus, and the amount of time you spend in close contact with them.

2. Keep your hands and face as clean as possible

Wash your hands often using soap and water and dry them thoroughly.

Where available, use sanitiser outside your home, especially as you enter a building and after you have had contact with surfaces. Avoid touching your face.

The NHS has a video explaining the best way to wash your hands

The NHS has a video explaining the best way to wash your hands.

3. Avoid being face-to-face with people if they are outside your household

You are at higher risk of being directly exposed to respiratory droplets (released by talking or coughing) when you are within two metres of someone and have face-to-face contact with them. You can lower the risk of infection if you stay side-to-side rather than facing someone.

4. Reduce the number of people you spend time with in a work setting

You can lower the risks of transmission in the workplace by reducing the number of people you come into contact with regularly, where you can.

5. Avoid crowds

You can lower the risks of transmission by reducing the number of people you come into close contact with.

6. If you have to travel (for example, to work or school), think about how and when you travel

To reduce demand on the public transport network, you should walk or cycle wherever possible.

7. Wash your clothes regularly

There is some evidence that the virus can stay on fabrics for a few days, although usually it is shorter. Therefore, if you are working with people outside your household, wash your clothes regularly.

8. Keep indoor places well ventilated

Evidence suggests that the virus is less likely to be passed on in well-ventilated buildings and outdoors.

9. Face coverings

If you can, wear a face covering in an enclosed space where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet. This is most relevant for short periods indoors in crowded areas, for example, on public transport or in some shops.

10. When at work, follow the advice given to you by your employer

Employers have a duty to assess and manage risks to your safety in the workplace. The government has issued guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus. This includes guidance on how to make adjustments to your workplace to help you maintain social distancing.

The latest advice is asking anyone who shows certain symptoms to self-isolate for 7 days. This means they are advising people to stay at home and avoid all but essential contact with others for 7 days from the point of displaying mild symptoms, to slow the spread of infection.

Furthermore where someone is part of a household the advice is that the entire household self isolate for a full 14 days to allow everyone the opportunity to display symptoms.

Anyone needing to self isolate should follow the advice here.

How would I know if I’ve got the coronavirus?

The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of any of the following:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness. However, if you have any of the symptoms above you should self-isolate at home.

How do you catch coronavirus?

COVID-19 is a new virus and, according to the NHS, we do not know exactly how it spreads from person to person.

The most likely means of transmission are droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Infections are generally be spread by:

  • Secretions from the mouths or noses of people who are nearby (within two metres) or could be inhaled into the lungs.
  • Touching a surface that has been contaminated with respiratory secretions and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes (such as a door knob or shaking hands then touching own face).

It is currently unclear whether people who do not have symptoms are infectious to others, but this is not believed to be a big risk.

See above for precautionary measures you can take to help stop the virus from spreading.

IMPACT ON RESIDENTS AND STAFF

I’m a resident, and I’m concerned I may have coronavirus. What do I need to do?

If you have developed either a new continuous cough, high temperature/fever (37.8 degrees centigrade) or a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia) you should self isolate for 7 days from when your symptoms started.

You do not need to contact NHS 111 to take the decision to self isolate.

If you have taken the  decision to self isolate, please contact your hostel reception in the first instance (by email) so they can advise and support the requirements of your self isolation. You’ll find COVID-19 self-isolation guidance here.

If your symptoms worsen to the point you can’t carry out normal daily activity such as use your mobile phone or get out of bed you should call NHS 111 and speak to a nurse.

Please contact the reception team straight away if your symptoms worsen or you are advised you will be moved to hospital or tested for COVID 19.

I am a staff member, and I’m concerned I might have coronavirus. What do I need to do?

If you have developed either a new continuous cough,high temperature/fever (37.8 degrees centigrade) or a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia) you should self isolate for seven days from when your symptoms started. If you are part of a household your entire household should self isolate for fourteen days.

You do not need to contact NHS 111 to take the decision to self isolate

If you have taken the  decision to self isolate please contact your line manager/supervisor in the first instance (by email) so they can advise and support the requirements of your self isolation. You’ll find stay at home guidance here. 

If your symptoms worsen to the point you can’t carry out normal daily activity such as use your mobile phone or get out of bed you should call NHS 111 and speak to a nurse.

Please contact the reception team straight away if your symptoms worsen or you are advised you will be moved to hospital or tested for COVID 19.

If you are diagnosed with a positive test for coronavirus, email your line manager and Head of Department. We expect the local Public Health England team to contact us separately to tell us what to do about any residents or colleagues you have been in contact with.

What should I do if I believe I am particularly vulnerable?

We understand you may be concerned if you feel you are more vulnerable to the coronavirus than others (for example if you have a specific health condition, or have vulnerable family members). Public Health England defines underlying conditions as people with weakened immune systems and those with long-term conditions such as diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. If you are worried, members of staff and residents should speak to their medical provider in the first instance, LHA will support you as much as possible, based on any specific advice you have received from medical professionals, as well as general public health guidance. Current advice highlights that those individuals who are either elderly or have underlying health conditions (or both) are particularly at risk should they come into contact with COVID-19. Since LHA has a number of residents that fall into this category, we have had initial conversations with these people to assess their needs.

If you are a resident and believe you fall into one of the high-risk groups (and haven’t yet been spoken to by LHA), please contact your onsite team in the first instance.

For detailed guidance please visit this web page.

I’ve received a letter or text from the NHS telling me I must Self Isolate for 12 weeks, what do I do?

Please contact the onsite team straight away so we can complete your personal self-isolation plan.

I’m young and not at risk why am I being asked to self-isolate?

We ask that not only do all residents keep themselves safe and well during these challenging times but also think about the impact their actions could have on other residents. We have a number of residents who may be at risk should they come into contact with CoVID 19 and so will insist government advice is followed wherever possible.

I’ve lost my job and/or lost income and I don’t know how I’m going to pay my accommodation charges what do I do?

Please don’t panic, as the government support measures become clearer we will work with those residents who find themselves suffering financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak to agree appropriate payment plans. Please check here for what support may already be available to you.

Are you accepting new bookings?

At the current time we are only able to accept new bookings in line with government guidance for individuals prevented from reaching their primary residence and key workers. The situation is changing freguently so please do fill in an enquiry form on our website and our bookings team will be able to advise you accordingly.

Do I need to quarantine on arrival?

If you are an existing resident who is now able to return to your accommodation or a new arrival arriving from abroad with effect from Monday 8th June 2020 you will be required to quarantine yourself for 14 days. For the specific border control information please see this link. https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control

As long as you have notified us in advance that you will be arriving from abroad and will need to quarantine we will be able to support you doing that in one of our hostels.