Our Coronavirus Update

March 11, 2020 3:52 pm

Please read below to see what steps we are taking in response to the Coronavirus. We hope to have translated versions of the NHS advice available soon.

As things are changing frequently, we will update this page when necessary.

Refugees at Home : Coronavirus policy


Coronavirus is a new viral infection which causes symptoms similar to ‘flu. There are concerns about the possibility of a pandemic in which large numbers of people might be infected. Some measures are currently in place to try to contain the infection. The risk to individuals in the UK is currently low but this may change.  Current advice suggests that infection with the virus leads to a mild to moderate illness for the majority of people. A small proportion of the population are at risk of becoming more seriously unwell. Those who are thought to be more vulnerable include the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.  


Coronavirus and fears about the infection are likely to impact on the work of Refugees at Home.  This policy outlines the general principles which will inform our approach to this uncertain and changing situation.  


Employees and volunteers cannot give advice about Coronavirus: hosts, guests, referrers, volunteers and employees will be asked to consult the NHS guidance when thinking through their own response to possible exposure to the virus or the development of symptoms.


Symptoms of Coronavirus infection may include:

  • A cough
  • High temperature
  • Shortness of breath

These are common symptoms at this time of year and we should all avoid spreading any cold or ‘flu-like illness to others.


Anyone who has recently returned from known hot-spots for the virus or has been in contact with someone who has recently travelled to an area of infection should follow the advice on the NHS website about how to report concerns. 


The situation is changing by the day and advice about Coronavirus can be found:

NHS advice

Government guidance



Existing and new placements will continue to be made and managed.  The Placement team will be given updated advice as the situation unfolds.  The current approach is: –

  • Referrers and self-referring guests will be asked about symptoms which are characteristically seen in those infected with the virus and this will be shared with hosts being asked about a possible placement
  • We ALWAYS depend on referrers to ask appropriate questions of guests and inform us about any health conditions. This is even more vital at the moment. We are asking referrers to talk about the virus with prospective guests – using an interpreter where necessary.
  • Hosts will be asked about the same symptoms and any details shared with the referrer and guest
  • As with all placements, the decision about whether a hosting arrangement should proceed is made by the host and the guest (with advice from the referrer).
  • It is possible that it will become more difficult to find available hosts for referrals but we will continue to do all we can to help those in need.
  • Hosts and guests will be urged to take appropriate precautionary measures, especially hand washing.  Information explaining the importance of this will be identified, if possible in the languages spoken by our guests, and shared with hosts and guests.  
  • If a host or guest develops Coronavirus and either the guest or host asks for the placement to end, we will do all we can to  assist but will advise following the Government guidelines that members of a household should self-isolate. Notwithstanding, we will do all we can to find an alternative placement.   All information about the ending of the placement will be shared with hosts we approach in this situation. 
  • If a host asks that a placement ends as a result of their concern about Coronavirus, all efforts will be made to find a new host for that guest. As with all placement endings, we cannot promise these efforts will be successful.


Home Visits

  • All those asked to participate in a Home Visit to assess a new host (Home Visitor, members of the host’s household) will be asked to postpone the visit if they have contact with anyone known to have the virus, if they have recently returned from an area of high risk or if they develop symptoms suggestive of Coronavirus.


Employees and Volunteers

  • Much of the work of those involved with Refugees at Home is undertaken remotely so there is no face to contact between volunteers, guests, referrers and others.
  • Members of the Placement Team have face-to-face meetings one or two days a week.  These should continue as normal unless the situation changes. Employees are encouraged to work from home if they develop symptoms or have contact with those who are infected or returning from an area of concern.  
  • The Placement Team and Volunteers can seek advice from the Senior Manager and the Operations group should they have concerns or questions about how to deal with this situation.