COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus. In this section you will be able to find all the latest information on what you can and can't do, and how to keep yourself and everyone else safe.
What is coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a ‘type’ of virus. The coronavirus we are all affected by is called COVID-19, but you may also hear it called - coronavirus.
How serious is COVID-19?
The evidence shows us that the vast majority of people who get this virus have relatively mild symptoms and make a full recovery. But in a small percentage of cases, the virus can cause more severe symptoms. This is particularly true for people with a weakened immune system, for older people and for those with long term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.
A lot of false information about this virus is being shared - it’s very important that you make sure that the information you use comes from a trusted source - all of the information on this page has been sourced from the NHS.
What are the symptoms?
The most important symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of any of the following:
- a new continuous cough
- a high temperature
- a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)
What should I do if I have any of the above symptoms?
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 however mild, you must self-isolate for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started. You should arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19 – please visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/ to arrange a test. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
If you are not experiencing symptoms but have tested positive for COVID-19 you also must self-isolate for at least 10 days, starting from the day the test was taken. If you develop symptoms during this isolation period, you must restart your 10-day isolation from the day you develop symptoms.
After 10 days, if you still have a temperature you should continue to self-isolate and seek medical advice. You do not need to self-isolate after 10 days if you only have a cough or loss of sense of smell or taste, as these symptoms can last for several weeks after the infection has gone. See the ending isolation section below for more information.
If you live with others, all other household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the household became ill or if they do not have symptoms, from the day their test was taken. If anyone else in the household starts displaying symptoms, they must stay at home for at least 10 days from when their symptoms appear, regardless of what day they are on in their original 14-day isolation period. The ending isolation section below has more information.
If you have symptoms, try and stay as far away from other members of your household as possible. It is especially important to stay away from anyone who is clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable with whom you share a household.
Reduce the spread of infection in your home by washing your hands regularly for 20 seconds using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser, and cover coughs and sneezes.
Consider alerting people who you do not live with and have had close contact within the last 48 hours to let them know you have symptoms of COVID-19.
Following a positive test result, you will receive a request by text, email or phone to log into the NHS Test and Trace service website and provide information about recent close contacts.
If you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition gets worse, then use the NHS 111 online COVID-19 service. If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.
If you develop COVID-19 symptoms again at any point after ending your first period of isolation (self or household) then you must follow the guidance on self-isolation again. The section below has further information.
If you have a clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable person living with you
Where possible, arrange for anyone who is clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable to move out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of your home isolation period.
If you cannot arrange for vulnerable people to move out of your home, stay away from them as much as possible, following the guidance here. For the clinically extremely vulnerable please follow the Shielding guidance.
Those who are clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable should be supported to take precautions to minimise their contact with other people in your household, regardless of whether others have symptoms or not. They should minimise time spent in shared spaces such as kitchens, bathrooms and sitting areas. Any shared spaces should be well ventilated.
If they can, clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable people should use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household. If this is not possible, consider drawing up a rota for bathing, with the clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable person using the facilities first. They should use separate towels from the rest of the household, both for drying themselves after bathing or showering and when washing their hands.
If they can, clinically vulnerable and clinically extremely vulnerable members of the household should have their meals in their own rooms. If you have one, use a dishwasher to clean and dry the family’s used crockery and cutlery. If this is not possible, wash them using your usual washing up liquid and warm water and dry them thoroughly. If the clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable person is using their own utensils, remember to use a separate tea towel for drying these.
We understand that it will be difficult for some people to separate themselves from others at home. You must do your very best to follow this guidance and everyone in your household should regularly wash their hands, avoid touching their face, and clean frequently touched surfaces.
For more guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection.
Staying safe outside your home
It is your responsibility to adopt these principles wherever possible. None of these principles can completely remove the risk of catching coronavirus on their own. You should use them all wherever and whenever appropriate.
- Keep your distance from people outside your household or support bubble
- Avoid being face-to-face with people if they are outside your household or support bubble
- Keep your hands and face as clean as possible
- Keep indoor places well ventilated
- Avoid crowded spaces
- Work from home if you can
- If you have to travel (for example, to work or school), think about how and when you travel
- Face Coverings. In line with Government guidance, you must wear a face covering in the following indoor settings: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own
- Avoid shouting or singing close to people outside your household or support bubble
- Reduce the number of people you spend time with in a work setting
- Wash your clothes regularly
- When at work or in business or public premises, follow the advice on site
For more information on staying safe outside your home and a more in depth explanation of the listed principles, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-safe-outside-your-home/staying-safe-outside-your-home.