Coronavirus - Member Update

A joint statement from the Grand Secretary / Grand Scribe E, Grand Secretary at Mark Masons’ Hall and Secretary General of the Ancient and Accepted Rite:

As the Coronavirus continues to escalate, we are issuing the following urgent guidance above and beyond that issued by Public Health England. This is due to the main age demographic of our membership being in a significantly higher risk group. This advice equally applies to members of the Orders administered from Mark Masons’ Hall and members of the Ancient and Accepted Rite.

COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China in December 2019. The World Health Organization (WHO) believes COVID-19 more severely affects older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes).

Based on the WHO’s declaration that this is a public health emergency of international concern, the UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the UK from low to moderate. On 10 February, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, announced strengthened legal powers to protect public health, and on the 2 March outlined the UK’s national response to the virus.

Whilst each unit may decide for itself what precautions it may wish to take, we strongly suggest you follow this advice:
Any member who feels unwell should follow the advice from Public Health England. If a member is known to have been infected with Covid-19, then it is standard policy for Public Health to contact all those with whom he has been in contact. Full co-operation is expected to ensure the risk to other unit members – and members of the public – is minimised. We recommend the Secretary maintains physical possession of the attendance book to assist in this process.

If you are worried about a fellow member please keep in contact with them via the phone and text to keep an eye on their wellbeing.

Reduce your risk of infection
Wash your handsRegularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash then with soap and water
Cover your nose and mouthCover nose and mouth with tissues or the inside of your elbow when coughing and sneezing
Seek medical adviceIf you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance
Your questions answered

Q: How long does the corona virus survive on surfaces?


A: It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. It may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. So please ensure you wash your hands with soap and hot water for 20 seconds (singing Happy Birthday twice) – especially after using public transport.

Q: I am showing symptoms of the virus, what should I do?

A: Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. If you are worried you are showing symptoms of the Coronavirus please use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do next. In Wales call 111 (if available in your area) or 0845 46 47.

Q. I have been asked to self-isolate, what steps should I follow?

A: Please follow the link below if you have been asked to self-isolate for further advice and guidance: publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk

Q: How long is the incubation period for COVID-19?


A: The incubation period means the time between catching the virus and showing symptoms of the disease. Most estimates of the incubation period for COVID-19 range from 1-14 days; most commonly around five days.

As always, the welfare of our members is paramount. We encourage all members to following this guidance and keep up-to-date with developments from Public Health England as they are issued.

To download a pdf containing this information click here.

Dr David Staples FRCP,
CEO and Grand Secretary, United Grand Lodge of England

Ryan Williams,
Grand Secretary, Mark Masons’ Hall

Dr G R E Shilson,
Grand Secretary General, Ancient and Accepted Rite




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