Keep calm and carry on feeding: Agriculture and food policy responses to the COVID-19 crisis (2022)

Abstract

In 2020, the agriculture and food sector experienced significant supply chain disruptions due to the COVID-19 crisis and associated lockdown measures. Yet relatively limited economic impacts were observed on the sector due to the agility of producers, supply chain actors and retailers, but also to the rapid and broad response by governments. Close to 800 measures were undertaken by governments in 54 developed and emerging countries, aimed to avoid aggravating disruptions, absorb supply and demand shocks, provide relief to affected producers and consumers, or to bolster the recovery of affected production activities. At least USD 157 billion was earmarked to the agriculture sector to support these measures, with a large part going to food assistance. As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on this sector subsides, policy makers will need to pivot and shift spending to investments that can enhance sector-wide resilience.

From early disruptions to a relatively successful 2020 for the agriculture and food sector

In 2020, the agriculture and food sector faced significant supply chain disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdown measures in a number of countries. This brief presents a snapshot of the overall performance of the agriculture and food sector in 2020 and analyses the broad set of agriculture and food policy responses adopted by governments in response to the pandemic and associated lockdown measures. While national policy evaluations have not yet been completed, the analysis offers an overview of the diversity and potential effect of policy responses. It also outlines some of the next steps required to ensure that the recovery can help improve the capacity of the agriculture and food sector to become more productive, sustainable and resilient.

Multiple shocks affected food supply chains

Three main types of impacts were observed on the agriculture and food sector (OECD, 2020[1]). First, the production of certain agriculture goods was reduced due to the unavailability of seasonal labour, restrictions in the access to intermediate agriculture inputs, and the incapacity to sell output. Second, there were impacts on consumer demand driven by unemployment and income shocks associated with the containment measures, reduced demand for high value products, consumer shift in demand from food services, and decline in biofuel demand. Third, supply chain disruptions were observed in many countries, due in part to the contamination of employees in processing firms, the adoption of distancing and sanitary requirements, and transport and logistic issues.

Yet the overall agricultural sector had a solid economic performance in 2020

On an annual basis, available evidence suggests that, on average, the agriculture and food sector had an economically successful year. In particular:

  • The global production of major commodities ‒ including wheat, maize, rice and soybean ‒ increased in 2020 (AMIS, 2021[2]).

  • Gross farm receipts (GFR), which capture farmers’ overall income, increased by 5% from 2019 to 2020 in 54 OECD and emerging economies (Figure1).1 The increase was higher in emerging countries (7%) than OECD countries (2%). This increase was largely driven by the People’s Republic of China (hereafter “China”) (+12%), but also the United States (+3%), the European Union (+1%), and 14 other countries. In contrast, India (-3%), Mexico (-5%), the United Kingdom (-2%), and eight other countries saw decreased GFR.

  • While international agricultural trade dropped during the first few months after the outbreak, trade recovered rapidly (FAO, 2021[3]), and on average grew between 2019 and 2020 (Figure2).

  • Despite some early turbulences in specific markets, average food prices remained relatively stable on an annual basis (Figure3) (OECD, 2021[4]).

Figure 1. Gross farm receipts increased in OECD countries and emerging economies in 2020

Keep calm and carry on feeding: Agriculture and food policy responses to the COVID-19 crisis (1)

Source: OECD (2021[5]).

Figure 2. International agricultural trade also increased from 2019 to 2020

Keep calm and carry on feeding: Agriculture and food policy responses to the COVID-19 crisis (2)

Figure 3. Average annual food prices remained relatively stable in 2020

2014-16 sets equal to 100

Keep calm and carry on feeding: Agriculture and food policy responses to the COVID-19 crisis (3)

Private and public actors contributed to this relative resilience

The outbreak of the pandemic and subsequent lockdown and regulatory measures led to multiple adjustments by actors along agriculture and food supply chains (Lusk etal., 2020[6]; Wieck etal., 2021[7]; OECD, 2021[4]).In particular, fruit and vegetable producers looked for new sources of labour, foods processors and wholesalers adopted new sanitary measures, retailers adapted to shifts in consumer demand, while food services developed deliveries at home.

Governments and public services also undertook multiple actions to limit risks for the sector (FAO-OECD, 2021 forthcoming[8]). They had to balance their fight against the spread of the virus with measures to ensure accessible and affordable food supplies to their population. Internationally, they made efforts to ensure that supply chain disruptions remained limited to avoid global food price hikes like those seen in 2007-08.

A wide range of agricultural and food policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic2

This section presents an overview of government measures introduced in 2020 in 54 OECD and emerging countries, using a variety of categorisations, focusing mainly on the number and type of measures, their potential impact and associated budget figures. The dataset used for analysis was compiled from information on domestic and international trade-related COVID-19 policy developments collected by the OECD.3

Governments implemented a diverse set of responses to COVID-19

Governments of the covered countries and the European Commission introduced 776unique policy measures to respond to the COVID-19 related crisis during 2020, of which 496 were introduced in the first four months (OECD, 2020[9]; Gruère and Brooks, 2021[10]).4

The nature of the government responses varied widely. Seven categories of measures can be distinguished to characterise the scope of governments’ response: 1.Sector-wide and institutional measures; 2.Information and co-ordination measures; 3.Measures on trade and product flows (enhancing or restricting trade); 4.Labour measures (biosafety and worker measures); 5.Agriculture and food support (or support for agriculture and food companies); 6.General support (including packages that apply to the sector); and 7.Food assistance and consumer support (demand side interventions). As shown in Table1, each of these categories can be further broken down, resulting in twenty sub-categories.5

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Government measures were distributed across those seven categories, with 37% of the 776measures focusing on agriculture and food support, 5% on institutional measures, and 8% on food assistance measures, with the remaining four categories covering between 11% and 14% of measures (Figure4).

Table 1. Categorising government measures

Category

Sub-category of measures

1. Sector-wide and institutional measures

1.A. Declaration of essential sector

1.B. Measures related to the functioning of the government

2. Information and co-ordination measures

2.A. Websites, campaigns

2.B. Monitoring the agriculture market

2.C. Co-ordination with the private sector

2.D. International coordination

3. Measures on trade and product flows

3.A. Trade easing measures

3.B. Logistics and transport facilitation measures

3.C. Trade restricting measures

3.D. Rechannelling product flows

3.E. Facilitating internal market integration

4. Labour measures

4.A. Measures to ensure the health of workers

4.B. Agriculture labour measures

5. Agriculture and food support measures

5.A. General financial support for the sector

5.B. Specific product support

5.C. Administrative and regulatory flexibility

6. General support applicable to agriculture and food

6.A. Overall economic measures

6.B. Social safety nets

7. Food assistance and consumer support

7.A. Food assistance

Source: OECD (2020[11]).

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Figure 4. Categorisation of the COVID-19 policy responses in 2020

Keep calm and carry on feeding: Agriculture and food policy responses to the COVID-19 crisis (4)

Note: Some measures belong to two categories.

Source: OECD (2021[12]).

Governments in the countries covered adopted policy responses in many categories. Thirty-eight of the 54countries applied measures in all seven categories, while ten countries applied measures in six of the seven categories. Fifty or more countries applied trade and product flow measures, information measures, or agriculture and food support measures, while the other categories of measures were each applied by at least 46countries (Figure5).

At the same time, differences in the number of measures by category can be seen among regions and countries. In particular, 54% of measures undertaken by governments in OECD countries focused on the three categories of financial support (categories 5. Agriculture and food support, 6.General support, and 7.Food assistance and consumer support measures), with the largest share of measures in the agriculture and food support category (35%). In contrast, 58% of measures undertaken by emerging economies were in the non-support categories of measures (categories 1.Sector wide and institutional, 2.Information and co-ordination, 3.Trade and product flows, and 4.Labour measures), with the largest proportion of measures (26%) in the trade and product flow category.

Most measures were new programmes, funding or approaches to respond to the crisis. Only 11% of the unique measures recorded explicitly built on existing policy measures already in place; almost all of that in the agriculture and food support category in the form of flexibility or changes in existing policy programmes. Innovative approaches were used, for instance, to re-channel food unused by closed schools towards families, to hire temporarily unemployed workers from cities in fields, and to use digital tools to ease market and trade controls.

Measures varied in their purpose, timing, scope, and potential impacts

Government responses also differed in purposes, timing and scope, and therefore potential impacts, as characterised by the following grouping of measures:

  • Urgent measures to ensure supply: These emergency measures were taken at the onset of the crisis to ensure supply and keep the sector functioning. Examples include measures to ensure the safety of food systems actors; declaring agriculture and food as an essential sector; measures to ensure the functioning of government agencies; co-ordination of responses with the private sector; and national and international logistic and transport measures, including setting up green lanes to ensure the continuation of trade. These measures are intrinsically linked to the pandemic and could be lifted after the COVID-19 crisis. This group includes 150unique measures (19% of the total).

  • No-regrets measures: These measures improve market functioning and thereby contribute to improved resilience. They could have been taken before, and should be maintained or even scaled up after the COVID-19 crisis. This group includes measures supporting digital innovations that facilitate e-commerce; exchange of information; agriculture job-matching information centres; and training or trade facilitation measures. This group includes 75unique measures (10% of the total).

  • Temporary relief measures: These measures seek to contain the impact of the crisis on agriculture and food sector actors, from producers to consumers. Governments considered them necessary but they should include sunset clauses to avoid outliving their original rationale and creating unnecessary market distortions. These measures comprise largely temporary trade and markets measures to relieve domestic economic pressure, agricultural support measures, including those that compensate producers and agro-food chain actors for damages incurred; consumer and food assistance6 measures; and measures that lifted or limited regulatory requirements for farmers. This group is the largest, with 537unique measures (69% of the total).

The remaining 14 measures (2%) could not be attributed to any of the groups.

Measures in the three support categories (5, 6 and 7) are overwhelmingly temporary relief measures, but measures in other categories belong to different groups (Figure6). Urgent measures to ensure supply include institutional and informational measures, but also labour measures and trade and product flow measures (categories1 to 4). No-regrets measures were mostly information and co-ordination measures and product and trade flow measures that enhance the functioning of markets (categories2 and 3).

A large majority of countries implemented measures that belong to each of these groups, even if some differences are observed across countries. All but two countries (52) applied one or more urgent measures to ensure supply, and the same number of countries applied temporary relief measures; fewer countries (46) applied at least one no-regrets measure. OECD countries applied relatively more temporary relief measures than emerging economies, who applied relatively more of measures in the other two groups.

An additional distinction was made to identify measures that could at least temporarily be potentially market and trade distorting or environmentally harmful. Eighty-five unique measures (11% of the total) introduced by 47countries were identified to have potentially negative impacts on markets or the environment, belonging to the agriculture and food support category, the trade and product flow, and the food assistance categories. These included temporary trade bans or export restrictions, market price controls, relaxed environmental regulations, and specific support measures for different agricultural commodities.

Governments allocated at least USD157billion to respond to impacts in the agriculture and food sector

Governments in many countries adopted comprehensive economic recovery packages with measures that included new liquidity, flexibilities in taxes, or subsidies which applied to firms in the agriculture and food sector. At the same time, governments in many countries created specific financial support measures to the agriculture and food sector.

A preliminary assessment of budgetary allocation in response to the COVID-19 impact based on collected information suggests that governments dedicated a minimum USD157billion in response to impacts to the sector (Table2).7 Of this total, USD116billion was earmarked in the form of grants, payments or other funding, while USD41billion was offered in the form of subsidised rates loans, new credit lines, and other mechanisms. At the same time, USD5.6trillion was provisionally identified in general recovery packages, an undetermined share of which applied to the food and agriculture sector (category 6. general support).

Table 2. Reported financial support specific to the agriculture and food sector in response to COVID-19 in 54 countries

USD million

Category of measures

5. Agriculture and food support

7. Food assistance and consumer support1

3. Measures on product and trade flows2

4. Labour measures3

TOTAL

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Funding (announced)

34 410

55 024

18 909

7 654

115 697

Loan/credit

40 698

40 698

Other mechanisms

133

241

374

TOTAL

74 941

55 024

19 151

7 654

156 769

Note: Reported support in this table was promised but not necessarily spent in 2020.

1.

Specifically food assistance measures.

2.

Measures facilitating market functioning, logistics and infrastructure (general services).

Source: OECD (2021[13]).

Sector specific earmarked funding primarily focused on relief measures for agriculture and food actors, and food assistance measures (83%). Twelvepercent of financial support focused on general services, such as infrastructure development, e-commerce development, and measures easing trade, which are listed under the category of measures on product and trade flows. The remaining 5% of support was directed towards addressing labour shortfalls and implementing bio-sanitary measures, including compensation for the culling of minks potentially infected by the COVID-19 virus and equipment support.

OECD countries and emerging economies allocated funding differently. OECD countries’ financial support amounted to USD75billion, almost entirely dedicated to relief measures expressed in terms of agriculture and food support (USD32billion) and food assistance (USD41billion), with the remaining funding going towards labour and biosafety measures. In contrast, emerging economies reported USD82billion of financial support, including USD34billion going to agriculture and food support and USD24billion to food assistance, implying lower shares of overall support in these categories and a higher share of funding allocated to general services enhancing market and trade than in OECD countries.

Conclusions: From crisis response to bolstering the overall resilience of the agriculture and food sector

Despite significant disruption to the agriculture and food supply chains, particularly in the first half of 2020, most sector shocks were absorbed rapidly, with trade and markets recovering during the year. Average gross farm receipts for OECD and emerging economies actually increased in 2020, and the sector was the best performing or least affected economically in several countries. At the same time, restricting measures impacted the food security of many low income or unemployed consumers.

This relative economic resilience of the agriculture and food sector was largely due to sector specific policy measures undertaken by governments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions. Many governments moved swiftly to keep agricultural supply chains functioning, including by designating agriculture and food as an essential sector and by ensuring international co-operation to limit trade disruptions.

An estimated 776 unique policy response measures were adopted by governments of 54OECD and emerging economies in 2020. These measures were widely diverse, highlighting the breadth and responsiveness of public actions to address the impact of the crisis. Close to 20% of the total were urgent measures, adopted in order to contain the pandemic while keeping food and agriculture supply chains working. Just under 70% of measures took the form of temporary relief, seeking to contain the impact of the crisis on agriculture and food sector actors, and should be phased out as the crisis recedes. Most of the remaining measures (10%) were “no regrets” policies with the potential to improve the long-term resilience of the agro-food sector, and which have the potential to be scaled up further. At the same time, 11% of measures had the potential to distort markets or be harmful to the environment.

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A first assessment of budgetary expenditures in response to the COVID-19 crisis suggests that a minimum of USD157 billion was earmarked in funding or offered in financing means to the sector in 2020, including USD75 billion in OECD countries and USD82 billion in emerging economies. Actual disbursements have so far been lower, partly reflecting the overall resilience of agriculture to the COVID-19 shock, and the fact that recovery packages in several countries include multi-year investments.

While governments should remain particularly vigilant with respect to food insecurity and the potential for aftershocks as the virus evolves, agriculture and food policies should gradually shift focus towards improving the overall resilience of the sector to future shocks and crises, not least those resulting from climate change. Key priorities include no-regrets investments (for example, in infrastructure and biosecurity), strengthening agriculture and food innovation systems, and bolstering the capacity of food sector actors to respond to risks. The climate crisis provides a longer term imperative to reorient policies in ways that encourage sustainable agricultural productivity growth and strengthen resilience, and help address broader food system challenges in view of fulfilling the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

References

[2] AMIS (2021), Agricultural Market Information System, http://www.amis-outlook.org/ (accessed on July2021).

[3] FAO (2021), Agricultural trade & policy responses during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, FAO, http://dx.doi.org/10.4060/cb4553en.

[8] FAO-OECD (2021 forthcoming), Survey on G20 Agricultural Resilience and Risk Management: Summary note of the G20 survey, FAO, Rome.

[10] Gruère,G. and J.Brooks (2021), “Viewpoint: Characterising early agricultural and food policy responses to the outbreak of COVID-19”, Food Policy, Vol.100, p.102017, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodpol.2020.102017.

[6] Lusk,J. etal. (2020), Economic Impacts of COVID-19 on Food and Agricultural Markets,, Cast Commentary, Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST), Ames IA, https://www.cast-science.org/publication/economic-impacts-of-covid-19-on-food-and-agricultural-markets/.

[13] OECD (2021), Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation 2021:Addressing the Challenges Facing Food Systems, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/2d810e01-en.

[4] OECD (2021), “COVID-19 and food systems:Short- and long-term impacts”, OECD Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Papers, No.166, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/69ed37bd-en.

[12] OECD (2021), “Developments in Agricultural Policy and Support”, in Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation 2021:Addressing the Challenges Facing Food Systems, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/05bd280b-en.

[5] OECD (2021), Producer and Consumer Support Estimates.

[9] OECD (2020), Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation 2020, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/928181a8-en.

[11] OECD (2020), Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation 2020, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/928181a8-en.

[1] OECD (2020), COVID-19 and the Food and Agriculture Sector: Issues and Policy Responses, Policy Brief, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://read.oecd-ilibrary.org/view/?ref=130_130816-9uut45lj4q&title=Covid-19-and-the-food-and-agriculture-sector-Issues-andpolicy-responses.

[15] OECD (2018), Good Jobs for All in a Changing World of Work:The OECD Jobs Strategy, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264308817-en.

[16] OECD (2014), “The crisis and its aftermath: A stress test for societies and for social policies”, in Society at a Glance 2014:OECD Social Indicators, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/soc_glance-2014-5-en.

[14] OECD (2010), OECD Employment Outlook 2010:Moving beyond the Jobs Crisis, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/empl_outlook-2010-en.

[7] Wieck,C. etal. (2021), European and Member State Policy Responses and Economic Impacts on Agri-Food Markets due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, IATRC Commissioned Paper 26, International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium, St Paul, MN, https://iatrc.umn.edu/european-and-member-state-policy-responses-and-economic-impacts-on-agri-food-markets-due-to-the-covid-19-pandemic/.

Contact

Guillaume Gruère (✉ guillaume.gruère@oecd.org)

Notes

1.

Thirty-seven OECD countries, non OECD EU members, and 13 emerging economies: Argentina, Brazil, China, Colombia (which became an OECD member late in 2020), Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine and Viet Nam.

2.

This section is largely drawn from OECD (2021[13]).

3.

While the reported set of measures is comprehensive and covers all the most important policy responses, it does not claim to capture all measures introduced in the 54 countries.

4.

The overall number of unique measures for the year 2020 increases to 1086 applied policy measures if EU-wide measures, applicable to all Member states, are added to unique measures for each of the EU Member States (including for the period covered, the United Kingdom).

5.

Examples of individual country measures in each sub-category are available in OECD (2020[11]).

6.

While targeted food assistance for low-income households can also be considered urgent, the implemented measures essentially aim to cushion consumers from the economic impacts rather than cope with the urgency of the crisis for the delivery of agriculture and food products.

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7.

Gaps in the data strongly suggest that it is an underestimate of budgetary expenditure. In particular, the assessment focuses on the subset of measures for which financial information was available (in total 119 unique measures in 41countries). Furthermore, general recovery packages used on the agricultural sector was not identifiable for all countries. For more information, see OECD (2021[12]).

FAQs

What are some of the ways that food businesses remain safe from COVID-19? ›

Food businesses need to ensure adequate sanitary facilities are provided and ensure food workers thoroughly and frequently wash their hands. Soap and water is adequate for hand washing.

What are some ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19? ›

Social distancing, washing your hands and good respiratory hygiene (using and disposing of tissues), cleaning surfaces and keeping indoor spaces well ventilated are the most important ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Can the coronavirus disease spread through food? ›

It is very unlikely that COVID-19 is transmitted through food. However, as a matter of good hygiene practice, anyone handling food should wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before doing so. Crockery and eating utensils should not be shared. Clean frequently touched surfaces regularly.

Can COVID-19 be transmitted through food? ›

There is currently no evidence that people can catch COVID-19 from food. The virus that causes COVID-19 can be killed at temperatures similar to that of other known viruses and bacteria found in food.

How does COVID-19 usually spread? ›

When someone with a respiratory viral infection such as COVID-19 breathes, speaks, coughs or sneezes, they release small particles that contain the virus which causes the infection. These particles can be breathed in or can come into contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth.

What are the recommended surfaces to clean and disinfect during the COVID-19 pandemic? ›

High-touch surfaces in these non-health care settings should be identified for priority disinfection such as door and window handles, kitchen and food preparation areas, counter tops, bathroom surfaces, toilets and taps, touchscreen personal devices, personal computer keyboards, and work surfaces.

Can the coronavirus disease be transmitted through water? ›

Drinking water is not transmitting COVID-19. And, if you swim in a swimming pool or in a pond, you cannot get COVID-19 through water. But what can happen, if you go to a swimming pool, which is crowded and if you are close to other the people and if someone is infected, then you can be of course affected.

How long does the virus that causes COVID-19 last on surfaces? ›

Recent research evaluated the survival of the COVID-19 virus on different surfaces and reported that the virus can remain viable for up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel, up to four hours on copper, and up to 24 hours on cardboard.

Do I have to sanitise food packaging? ›

Food packaging If you have been shopping, there should be no need to sanitise the outer packaging of food. This is because food businesses are required to have a system for managing food safety in place, which should include keeping packaging clean. You should still follow good hygiene practice by washing your hands after handling any outer packaging.

Can I get COVID-19 from my pet? ›

COVID-19 in the UK is spread between humans. There is limited evidence that some animals, including pets, can become infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) following close contact with infected humans.

How should you maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at home with possible infection? ›

Spend as little time as possible in shared spaces such as kitchens, bathrooms and sitting areas. Avoid using shared spaces such as kitchens and other living areas while others are present and take your meals back to your room to eat. Observe strict social distancing.

What are public health and social measures (PHSMs)? ›

Public health and social measures (PHSMs) are measures or actions by individuals, institutions, communities, local and national governments and international bodies to slow or stop the spread of an infectious disease, such as COVID-19.

Can asymptomatic people transmit COVID-19? ›

Yes, infected people can transmit the virus both when they have symptoms and when they don't have symptoms. This is why it is important that all people who are infected are identified by testing, isolated, and, depending on the severity of their disease, receive medical care.

What are some ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19? ›

Social distancing, washing your hands and good respiratory hygiene (using and disposing of tissues), cleaning surfaces and keeping indoor spaces well ventilated are the most important ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Should food packaging be washed clean during the coronavirus pandemic? ›

If you have been shopping, there should be no need to sanitise the outer packaging of food. This is because food businesses are required to have a system for managing food safety in place, which should include keeping packaging clean.

Can we spray disinfectants on streets and sidewalks during the COVID-19 pandemic? ›

Streets and sidewalks are not considered as routes of infection for COVID-19. Spraying disinfectants, even outdoors, can be noxious for people's health and cause eye, respiratory or skin irritation or damage.

Is it mandatory to get a COVID-19 vaccination in a care home? ›

From 11 November 2021 care homes must only allow individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (or exempt) entry inside of a care home. This requirement will apply to those visiting a care home in a professional capacity unless exempt.

Why is it helpful to focus on the present during the COVID-19 pandemic when you're feeling anxious? ›

Focusing on the present, rather than worrying about the future, can help with difficult emotions and improve our wellbeing.

How do I stay active in and around the home during the COVID-19 pandemic? ›

Try and reduce long periods of time spent sitting, whether for work, studying, watching TV, reading, or using social media or playing games using screens. Reduce sitting for long periods by taking short 3-5 minute breaks every 20-30 minutes.

How long should I exercise for during quarantine? ›

Physical activity and relaxation techniques can be valuable tools to help you remain calm and continue to protect your health during this time. WHO recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week, or a combination of both.

Should food packaging be washed clean during the coronavirus pandemic? ›

If you have been shopping, there should be no need to sanitise the outer packaging of food. This is because food businesses are required to have a system for managing food safety in place, which should include keeping packaging clean.

What are the recommended surfaces to clean and disinfect during the COVID-19 pandemic? ›

High-touch surfaces in these non-health care settings should be identified for priority disinfection such as door and window handles, kitchen and food preparation areas, counter tops, bathroom surfaces, toilets and taps, touchscreen personal devices, personal computer keyboards, and work surfaces.

Do I have to sanitise food packaging? ›

Food packaging If you have been shopping, there should be no need to sanitise the outer packaging of food. This is because food businesses are required to have a system for managing food safety in place, which should include keeping packaging clean. You should still follow good hygiene practice by washing your hands after handling any outer packaging.

Can you get the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from packaging? ›

The risk of imported food and packaging from affected countries being contaminated with coronavirus is very unlikely. This is because the law requires the exporter to follow the right controls during the packing and shipping process to ensure good hygiene is met.

How long does the virus that causes COVID-19 last on surfaces? ›

Recent research evaluated the survival of the COVID-19 virus on different surfaces and reported that the virus can remain viable for up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel, up to four hours on copper, and up to 24 hours on cardboard.

How should you maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at home with possible infection? ›

Spend as little time as possible in shared spaces such as kitchens, bathrooms and sitting areas. Avoid using shared spaces such as kitchens and other living areas while others are present and take your meals back to your room to eat. Observe strict social distancing.

Videos

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4. Watch NBC News NOW Live - September 2
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