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Health emergencies

Coronavirus (COVID-19) 

Information and advice for the public on coronavirus (COVID-19), including the situation in the UK, is available via the NHS and GOV.UK

Cold weather

Cold weather health watch system operates in England from the 1 November to 31 March every year, in association with UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

Advice on how to stay well in cold weather is available below:


The Met Office runs a Heat Health Watch from 1 June to 15 September each year in association with Public Health England.

Although many of us enjoy being out in the sun during the summer it is important to be properly prepared to prevent ill-health. Those at most risk during a heatwave include:

  • babies and young children
  • older people
  • people with breathing or heart problems

Guidance for coping with a heatwave is available from the sites below:

Pandemic flu

The Department of Health (DH) is the lead department for planning for a human influenza pandemic. In the event of a health emergency such as Pandemic Flu the guidance provided by the NHS should be followed. Pandemic Flu Guidance is provided on GOV.UK and Public Health England: Pandemic Flu - Public Health Response.

Our role during a flu pandemic will include:

  • supporting the health professionals in their response to the pandemic
  • maintaining our own critical services
  • protecting staff from an increased risk of exposure during the performance of their roles

Bird flu

If you keep poultry, whether commercially on a farm, or as pets in your garden, or rearing game birds, you should keep a close watch on them for signs of disease, and maintain good biosecurity at all times.

Advice and the latest situation on Bird Flu (Avian Flu) is available on the GOV.UK Avian Influenza (bird flu) pages.

Bird flu is a notifiable animal disease. If you suspect any type of bird flu you must report it immediately by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. Failure to do so is an offence.

If you find dead wild waterfowl waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, you should report them to the Defra helpline (03459 33 55 77 - select option 7). Do not touch or pick up any dead or visibly sick birds that you find.