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Coronavirus: Council services updates

teal bullet Hampshire Helpline 

0333 370 4000  Available seven days a week, from 9am-5pm, for vulnerable people who do not have support from families, friends or their local community, and who need urgent assistance with practical issues.  

teal bullet Latest Government information:  (LINK) 

teal bullet Latest NHS information and advice: (LINK) 

See updates below, or go to sections:

teal bullet Community support, Hampshire helpline

teal bullet Waste, recycling, and environment

teal bullet Rents, Benefits and Council Tax

teal bullet Housing, housing maintenance and homelessness

teal bullet Support for businesses

teal bullet Planning, Building Control, Environmental Health and Protection

teal bullet Car parks, public facilities, health & leisure

teal bullet Contacting the Council and keeping up to date

    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

    Self-isolate if you or anyone in your household has symptoms

    teal bullet Keep up to date

    Sign up to get residents emails, with information about how our services are changing as we respond to the Coronavirus crisis. new window 


    Friday 22 May 2020: Support to businesses restarting work

    Was your business required to close and now you are looking to re-start?  There are new conditions you need to meet and adaptations you may need to make and we can help with advice and information. 

    This information from our Environmental Health team, not specific to food businesses although there is a food business specific checklist, may help.

    Also see: Government guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Thursday 21 May 2020: Bulky household waste collections - bookings reopened

    It is now possible to make a booking for a bulky waste collection. However, in order to keep our staff safe we have made some changes to the service, for example, at the moment we cannot accept soft furnished items. For more information

    Thursday 21 May 2020:  Be Forest Friendly - no BBQs or fires in the Forest

    There is a severe fire warning currently in place across the New Forest National Park. No barbecues are allowed and people are asked to please take extra care.

    If you are out and about in the Forest, follow the New Forest Park Authority's New Forest Code:

    • Keep your distance from the animals, don't feed or touch them
    • Take home dog waste and litter
    • No fires or disposable BBQs
    • Keep dogs under control. Don't let dogs approach or chase any animals.
    • Park only in car parks - check which ones are open at
    • No wild camping
    • Help wildlife by keeping to the main tracks
    • Drive with care - animals on the road
    • Stick to the cycle tracks

    Note that many facilities, including public toilets, remain closed.
    We urge you to continue staying at home as much as possible, to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, and if outside follow all the guidance available.

    Thursday 21 May 2020: Coronavirus symptoms and testing

    Self-isolate and get tested if you or any member of your household displays any of the following symptoms:

    • a new continuous cough
    • fever
    • loss/change in your normal sense of smell or taste (anosmia)

    NHS advice about Coronavirus symptoms:

    Get tested for Coronavirus:

    Wednesday 20 May 2020: Bank Holiday collections

    We will be collecting waste as usual on Bank Holiday Monday (25 May). Please put your waste out if this is your normal collection day for rubbish, recycling, glass or garden waste. We are reminding residents to please continue to put waste out at the edge of your own property and not stack pile with neighbours.

    Wednesday 20 May 2020: The Future Fund government loans

    The Future Fund, which will provide government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, is now open to loan applications. The Future Fund was developed by the government and is being delivered by the British Business Bank. 

    Wednesday 20 May 2020: Correct disposal of personal protective equipment (PPE)

    Please throw away any used PPE (gloves and face masks) in residual 'black bag' waste at home or whilst at work, or a litter bin if you're outside.

    Do not put used PPE (gloves and face masks) in a recycling bin, they cannot be recycled through conventional recycling facilities.

    Please do not purchase medical grade masks or respirators. These are prioritised for healthcare workers working in more high-risk environments.

    You are encouraged to make face coverings at home, using scarves or other textile items that you already own. Read the guidance on how to wear and make a cloth face covering.

    Cloth face coverings should be washed in line with manufacturer's instructions. When the time comes it's important to also properly dispose of home-made face coverings in your black bag waste or equivalent.

    Anyone self-isolating at home with confirmed or suspected COVID 19 should continue to place all their personal waste materials, including any PPE worn at home, in the residual 'black bag' waste bin. It should be double-bagged, making sure the bags are securely tied, then stored for 72 hours before placing it out for collection.

    The Government recently published new guidance for employers and employees on safety in the workplace and guidance regarding the use of face coverings.

    Tuesday 19 May: Letter from the Minister of Housing

    This letter from the Minister of Housing sets out the measures that are in place to support social housing residents during the next phase towards reopening society.

    Monday 18 May: Changes to Housing Services

    Our Housing Services continues to provide key services to our tenants who require housing related assistance. Having reviewed the latest guidance from government relating to Housing, we have made some changes to our services including resuming routine repair and maintenance programmes, housing allocations and tenancy sign ups, following appropriate safety measures. Please see the detailed information which has been updated at 

    Monday 18 May 2020: Employment and benefits support

    Employment and benefits support.   If you are affected by coronavirus or its effect on the economy, there's a wide range of support available. See information form the Dept for Work and Pensions at:

    Monday 18 May: Mental Health Awareness Week

    This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, focusing on kindness. During the Coronavirus crisis we have seen so many people in our community come together in kindness to help others.

    We'll be sharing advice throughout the week on Facebook and Twitter to improve your mood and your mental health. And you can get involved by sharing your stories of kind acts by or for you, and sharing your ideas of how we can all be kinder to help support everyone's mental health using #kindnessmatters and #mentalhealthawareness.
    Find out more at

    Wednesday 13 May: 

    Spending time outdoors

    From today people in England can spend more time outdoors and enjoy a wider range of activities for any length of time, subject to social distancing rules.You can spend time with one member of another household, one-on-one, as long as you stick to strict social distancing guidelines at all times, staying 2 metres apart.

    You cannot:

    X Gather with more than one member of another household, for example to play sports

    X Go on holiday 

    X Visit and stay overnight at a holiday home or second home

    X Visit the homes of friends and family, unless it's to help a vulnerable person, for medical reasons, or to take a child to another household with whom parental responsibilities are shared


    Face coverings

    The public is advised to consider wearing face coverings in enclosed public spaces where they may be more likely to come into contact with people they do not normally meet.

    Face coverings may be beneficial in places where it is hard to follow maintain social distancing measures. This applies when using public transport, such as trains, buses and metro systems, or when visiting shops.

    More information:

    Guidance on wearing and making face coverings:

    Tuesday 12 May 2020:  adobe icon Our Plan to Rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery Strategy A summary of the 60 page Government document [261kb]

    Tuesday 12 May 2020: New Government guidance - changes to NFDC Services

    Having reviewed new Government guidance issued 11/05, the changes to NFDC services are as follows:

    Coastal /seafront car parks - From tomorrow (Wednesday 13 May) NFDC coastal (amenity) car parks will re-open for use, with cashless payment only. Only Parking Clocks and Ringo payment will be accepted.  This is to remove the need to come into physical contact with pay machines. 

    We remind anyone using our car parks to consider carefully the need for their journey and to continue social distancing and good hand washing.

    Parking clocks can be bought online at (Refunds will not be given on the £120 clocks but this will be taken into consideration at the renewal date.)

    This decision has been taken in light of latest government advice and to support the wellbeing of our residents who wish to exercise and visit outdoor spaces, however we will review this decision to re-open car parks if it is felt that people are not following the latest guidance. 

    Please note: Government latest information states that you can travel to outdoor open spaces irrespective of distance, but to stay at another home is not allowed. Hospitality and leisure businesses are unlikely to open before July. Attractions, pubs, restaurants and hotels are closed, along with public toilets.

    Town and village car parks remain open and charging will not be reintroduced to continue to support volunteers being able to shop for the vulnerable.

    Public toilets - All NFDC public toilets will remain closed to support the aim of reducing the spread of the disease. We will regularly review this decision.

    NFDC Information Offices - All information offices, including Appletree Court, will remain closed. Our services can be accessed by website, email or telephone. We will be reviewing re-opening as the situation evolves and new guidance from government is issued, and when we are sure our customer sites can re-open safely.  

    Housing - We are continuing to house people who are homeless and concentrating on essential moves only, those in inappropriate or temporary accommodation, but we are waiting for more detail over the coming days and will update as soon as we can. 

    Playgrounds - Government have stated that playgrounds should remain closed.

    Beach huts - Beach hut owners will be able to access their huts from Wednesday 13 May and are asked to maintain the social distancing and good hygiene advice.

    At this time, all other services remain unchanged, but we are expecting further guidance in the coming days.   Please regularly check this page for updates


    teal bullet Community support

    Hampshire Helpline

    A helpline is now available to provide information and advice, as well as practical support to frail or vulnerable Hampshire residents. The Coronavirus Hampshire Helpline (Hantshelp4vulnerable) can be contacted on

    0333 370 4000

    The helpline is available seven days a week, from 9am-5pm, and is for vulnerable people who do not have support from families, friends or their local community, and who need urgent assistance with practical issues.


    Community Alarms

    Our Appletree Careline community alarm service continues to operate 24/7 and has retrained some staff from other services to ensure we can carry on helping our 2,500 customers at the touch of a button.  



    Monitoring of the District's CCTV cameras remains unaffected.


    Advice from Safer New Forest (LINK)

    Safer New Forest is a partnership of public organisations working towards reducing crime and anti-social behaviour and to make the New Forest a safer place to live, work and visit.  

    Domestic abuse - If you are feeling unsafe at home or you're worried you may be putting others at risk during this difficult time, support is available by calling 03300 165 112 or by visiting the Hampshire County Council website (LINK)

    adobe icon Safer New Forest leaflet [168kb]


    Scams and anti-fraud

    Get the latest information on how to protect yourself from criminals using the Covid-19 pandemic to scam the public - don't become a victim at

    adobe icon Covid-19 Scam Awareness leaflet [287kb]

    Hampshire constabulary offer advice to make you aware of some of the more common scams:

    Email, text and phone call scams
    claiming to be from official organisations such as HMRC, World Health Organisation or NHS;

    • asking you for money, donations or to pay a fine
    • claiming you are owed money such as a tax refund, or
    • offering to sell you equipment such as face masks, infection lists, anti-virus kits or home COVID-19 testing kits.

    Doorstep scams:

    • unexpected callers offering services such as cleaning and decontamination services,
    • bogus healthcare workers offering to take your temperature or provide 'home-testing' for the virus, or
    • criminals offering to do your shopping.

    Always question unsolicited calls, texts or emails requesting your personal or financial information.
    To verify the company contact them directly using a known email or phone number.
    For advice on cybercrime, or to report suspicious emails, visit
    To keep up to date on latest advice sign up at national for notifications.

    Cemeteries and funeral services

    Our Cemeteries Service is working closely with the area's Funeral Directors to ensure Government guidance with social distancing during burial interments are practiced and adhered.  

    Following Government guidelines, we advise only close family members  and friends attend, and only when it is safe for them to do so whilst observing current government restrictions.

    Burial interments within our cemeteries will continue, however, interments for cremated remains have been temporarily suspended.

    We advise you speak with your Funeral Director for guidance  and direction; they are able to act on your behalf. Please consult our Registered Funeral Directors page for your chosen Funeral Director's contact. 

    Travel and transport

    The current government guidance advises staying at home as much as possible. If you do need to travel or use public transport you can find out more information about travelling safely and local transport options at


    teal bullet Waste, recycling, and environment

    Collecting household rubbish and recycling is a priority but there may be some temporary adjustments to refuse collections.  Residents are being asked to keep an eye on website announcements, and to share information with any family or friends who are unable to access the website. 


    Black and clear sack collections

    Please put sacks out for collection at the edge of your own property - do not stack-pile sacks with neighbours'. It's important you can identify your own sacks as, if refuse is not collected on the collection day, you will need to take yours back in.  (Our operatives may still stack-pile as part of their collection patterns)

    Refuse crews have been given guidance on how to maintain social distancing and adjustments are being made to the way we carry out the service to follow this in a safe way.  Residents are asked not to approach crews with questions and to keep to 2m distance.


    How to store rubbish if you are self-isolating Advice on how to store rubbish for anyone with confirmed or possible Coronavirus or self-isolating (COVID-19) is that personal waste (such as used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags. These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put out for collection.


    Garden Waste

    As well as customers renewing, and payments for additional garden waste sacks, new customers are now able to subscribe to our garden waste collection service. The quickest way to join or renew is online. Read more and apply at: 


    Bulky Waste

    It is now possible to make a booking for a bulky waste collection. However, in order to keep our staff safe we have made some changes to the service, for example, at the moment we cannot accept soft furnished items. For more information


    Glass recycling collections

    Currently glass collections are still taking place.


    Clinical waste collections

    Both orange sacks and yellow sharps boxes are being collected as normal.


    Additional black & clear sacks  

    We deliver to households twice a year but if you have run out of black or clear sacks you can buy more by calling our customer service team on 02380 285000. Payments can only be made by debit or credit card, sacks will be delivered to your home address within 7 days.

    Clear sacks - £2.00 per roll (36 sacks)

    Black sacks - £5.20 per roll (26 sacks)


    How you can help

    Residents can help us continue to collect waste by minimising what is put out for collection:

    • Hold on to unwanted items for the time being - house clearance waste, DIY materials and old clothes and toys
    • Garden waste - start a compost heap or add to a compost bin.
    • Reduce food waste - don't buy or cook more than you need, store or freeze leftovers, keep an eye on use by dates, compost what you can


    Recycling banks

    Recycling banks ('bring sites') and textiles banks are no longer being emptied. Visiting recycling bank sites is considered an unnecessary journey. Residents are advised to stay at home, present any recyclable materials at the kerbside and hold onto any unwanted textiles. 


    Fly tipping

    Police and Council officers are patrolling for fly tipping. Fly-tipping is a serious criminal offence for which you can be prosecuted. You may be fly tipping if you;

    • put rubbish, glass or other recyclables on the floor next to a full bin or recycling bank, or
    • leave a bag outside a closed charity shop, or
    • give your DIY and rubble to someone to dispose of who doesn't have a waste carriers license


    Clean streets and dog waste

    Our teams continue to clean streets and empty dog waste and litter bins in public areas, whilst also providing back up support to our crucial refuse teams. Residents are reminded that dog waste can be placed in any litter bin, so if dog waste bins are full are asked to use a different public litter bin or take the waste home with them.

    Business / trade waste

    Advice on any changes to services for our business waste customers is available at


    teal bullet Rents, Benefits and Council Tax

    Your council tax pays for essential services for all residents, so it is important that you continue to pay your council tax if your circumstances have not changed.

    Council Tax payments

    Residents struggling to pay their council tax due to loss of earnings or illness resulting from Coronavirus can seek financial assistance through our council tax reduction scheme. Flexible payment options are being offered to residents in difficulty. If you are contacting us to claim for a Council Tax reduction, please have your details and documents to hand so we can process your claim as quickly as possible.

    Working Tax Credit is increasing by £20 per week. This will not affect the amount of Housing Benefit you get. Information and links have been added to our website on other benefits


    Paying your rent

    Please continue to pay rent on your council property if your circumstances have not changed.  If you are concerned about making rent payments due to loss of earnings or illness please check out our advice here You can also seek advice by emailing the rents team (or calling 02380 285 222 option 2 if you have no access to email.) 


    teal bullet Housing, housing maintenance and homelessness

    Our Housing Services is continuing to provide key services to our tenants and those who require housing related assistance.

    Please note - no work will be carried out in a household which is isolating,  because one or more family members has symptoms or where a household individual has been advised to shield, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household.

    As part of their personal protective equipment (PPE), all our off- site staff have disposable gloves and hand sanitiser. Face coverings do not form part of our PPE. Wearing a face covering is optional and not required by law, within the workplace.

    Repairs and housing maintenance

    Routine repairs and capital work programmes (kitchens, bathrooms, windows, doors, roofs etc.) have now resumed alongside emergency and essential repairs.  We will carry out work where it is safe to do so and in agreement with tenants.  Our staff and contractors will be following social distancing guidance when visiting tenants' homes and will continue observing good hygiene standards in accordance with the national guidance.

    We are restarting work on existing cases of disabled adaptations in private homes, where it is safe to do so.

    Housing allocation and housing register

    We are now able to carry out property allocations and tenancy sign ups, as well as essential moves and moves on from temporary accommodation. Where possible, tenancy sign ups will be carried out digitally. Where this is not possible, measures are in place to ensure social distancing guidance is adhered to with the observance of good hygiene standards in accordance with the national guidance.

    To apply to the housing register click here to apply online and upload your proof documents. To contact the team email


    We are continuing to provide advice and assistance to households facing homelessness.

    If you are about to become homeless because you are losing your home or you are at risk of homelessness because you have been asked to leave your accommodation complete this form: Homelessness form . If you are homeless today, please submit the online form and call the team on 023 8028 5234

    Tenancy Management

    We continue to assist with tenancy related matters, such as ASB and neighbour disputes via the Housing Support Hub. With current social restrictions in place this has been a busy time for the team, and we will continue to work with all parties to assist and resolve matters, where we can. Social restrictions have impacted us all in many ways and we would urge all residents and neighbours to demonstrate awareness, tolerance and understanding at this difficult time.

    Mutual exchange

    We will be accepting and processing applications for mutual exchanges from Tuesday 26th May 2020. Initially this will only be applications for exchanges between NFDC to NFDC properties. Further updates will be provided shortly on properties provided by other registered social landlords as they resume their normal service delivery.

    Right to buy

    We are currently reviewing how best we can manage the application process to ensure our tenants are able to take up their Right to Buy within a reasonable timescale, while acting in accordance with government guidelines on social distancing.

    Please contact the team at or more information can be found at

    Gas safety inspections

    Landlords still have a duty to carry out annual gas safety inspections on private rented properties, whilst observing social distancing guidance. Advice for:

    Tenants, if your annual inspection is due, please allow access for this to happen. If you are self-isolating, please make your landlord aware of this, so that they can make appropriate arrangements for the inspection to be carried out at a suitable time once you have stopped self-isolation.  See latest government advice:

    Council tenants - please contact our gas team on (023) 8028 5040
    All other tenants please contact your own landlord

    Landlords, you are encouraged to arrange your annual gas safety checks as early as possible. In the event you are unable to gain access to the property, e.g., refusal of access due to tenants self-isolating, you will be expected to be able to demonstrate that you took reasonable steps to comply with the law. This will need to include records of communication with the tenant and details of your engineers attempts to gain access. You should seek to arrange the safety check as soon as all parties are available. For further information please follow the latest advice:

    Housing Standards visits

    Inspections of private properties can now take place, in line with safe systems of work and government guidelines.



    teal bullet Support for local businesses

    Business rates

    We have approved two new policies to support businesses from 1 April 2020. These are the expanded retail discount and nursery discount. Our Business Rates team is applying the new policies and where a business qualifies under the new policies, they will be sent a revised bill. There is no need for businesses to contact us about this.

    Businesses also need not apply for Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF. These will be paid directly to eligible businesses.

    To date (11 May 2020) we have paid out £38million in Business Support Grants to 3,147 businesses in the New Forest - but more than 400 eligible businesses in the district have yet to make their claim for the free funding. We urge all businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of up to £51,000, and those getting Small Business Rate Relief to apply for your Business Support Grant. You can request your Business Rates Support Grant online at: using the Business Rates Support Grant eform.

    Businesses operating as a takeaway

    Regulations have been relaxed to allow public houses and restaurants to temporarily operate as food takeaways. Whilst pubs and restaurants don't need to apply for planning permission to do this, they must notify the Local Planning Authority in writing. Support for food businesses considering offering take-away services is available from our Environmental Health team on 023 8028 5230 or


    Advice and webinars

    We are working with our partners to deliver a range of business support initiatives beyond the financial support available. This includes free advice, support and community webinars. Details of this support can be found at


    teal bullet Planning, Building Control, Environmental Health and Protection

    Planning applications

    We continue to process planning and tree work applications, though there will be no site visits that require going into properties that are inhabited. Planning applications can be submitted in the normal way, and electronic submissions are encouraged where possible.

    Advice on planning, trees, conservation and listed buildings continues to be available by phone or email. Please visit


    Building control

    Building Control continues to operate as normal, but internal inspections of buildings that are inhabited will not be carried out. This may impact on the issuing of completed certificates.


    Consumer advice - takeaways

    Advice for consumers who may be using takeaway or food delivery services during this time has been produced and can be found at


    Nuisance complaints

    Complaints for alleged nuisance, including noise and bonfire, will be taken by email, letter or telephone calls (we are not making visits unless deemed absolutely necessary) and we ask residents to be considerate to neighbours during this period and ensure their activities do not cause a nuisance.  We urge residents not to burn waste, including garden waste, due to the potential health and nuisance impact.


    Pest control

    The service is operating at a reduced level but will prioritise issues that have a public health impact. 


    teal bullet Car Parks, public facilities, Health & Leisure

    All our public facilities including public toilets and playgrounds are closed.


    Car parks

    Coastal /seafront car parks are open. We recommend you pay to park by cashless parking payment (Parking clock or RingGo payment). Those who cannot use cashless parking can still pay to park using coins. Our ticket machines will be cleansed routinely throughout the day by our staff.

    Town and village car parks will remain open for use in line with the current guidance and charges have currently been suspended to help the large number of volunteers in obtaining essential supplies for those who are self-isolating or are vulnerable people. 

    Parking clocks can be bought online at

    Those parked in an NFDC car park unable to move the car and exceed the parking duration for reasons associated with Coronavirus, this will be treated with sensitivity if you need to contact us about any Penalty Charge Notice you may have received.

    We remind anyone using our car parks to consider carefully the need for their journey and to continue social distancing and good hand washing.


    Health and Leisure

    Our Health & Leisure centres remain closed to the public.  Customers have been advised that all direct debit payments for memberships and swim lessons have been frozen until further notice and invoices will be amended for clubs and hirers once a date for reopening is known. Customers who paid for classes will be given a credit and for larger payments like children's parties, refunds can be arranged

    Customers with queries about refunds and payments can see more information at at: 

    Home fitness is available with online Les Mills Bodybalance, Bodycombat, and Bodypump classes, as well as Born to Move classes for 4-16 year olds.
    NEW LINK: The free 'at home workouts' link that we shared previously expires on 30 April 2020. 
    To continue accessing Les Mills on-demand content at home with 800 online home workouts, get your free* 60 day trial at new window
    * please be aware that by default a £7.95 payment will be taken at the end of your free trial unless you cancel before the 60 days expires)

    The NHS Fitness Studio also offers a range of instructor-led exercise videos that count towards the recommended guidelines for weekly physical activities



    teal bullet Contacting the Council and keeping up to date

    Contact us

    You can contact us by email, phone and web chat, as well as keep up to date on social media.  We are extremely busy prioritising essential work so please only contact us if the matter cannot wait.  You can find out ways to get in touch here:


    Keep up to date

    Sign up to get residents emails, with information about how our services, including refuse collections, are changing as we respond to the Coronavirus crisis. 


    Information offices

    All information offices, including Appletree Court, will remain closed. Our services can be accessed by website, email or telephone.

    We will be reviewing re-opening as the situation evolves and new guidance from government is issued, and when we are sure our customer sites can re-open safely.  


    Council meetings

    Our councillors continue to work within their communities to support the most vulnerable, maintaining the connection between these local communities, the voluntary sector and essential Council services. The day to day executive decisions of the Council continue to be taken by individual Cabinet Members in accordance with normal procedures. In line with Government guidance on gatherings, all NFDC public meetings have been cancelled until further notice. Following the publication of Regulations relating to the conduct of local authority meetings, the Council is holding essential meetings virtually in accordance with these new Regulations. Throughout May and June this is likely to include the Cabinet and a series of Planning Committees. Further updates on other meetings to be held virtually will be made in due course.

    Cabinet reviewed the authority's response to the Coronavirus at their meeting on 6 May 2020.  Each of the eight Portfolio Holders on our Cabinet  have reviewed actions for the areas they are responsible for, such as housing, environment, and the economy.


    We are regularly reviewing our services and providing updates on any impacts to services on our website and via our Facebook and Twitter accounts. 

    British Sign Language (BSL) guides about Coronavirus from Sign Health: 

    Updates archive:


    Updated: 22 May 2020
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