Coronaviruses (COVID-19) Advice & FAQs

Keep up to date with advice:


COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus.

Stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms

Stay at home for 14 days if you have either:

  • a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  • a new, continuous cough – this means you've started coughing repeatedly

Stay at home and social distance yourself if you fall into the vulnerable category

Prepare to social distance (stay at home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible) for up to 12 weeks if any of the following apply to you:

  • aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
  • under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (ie anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds):
    • chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
    • chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
    • chronic kidney disease
    • chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
    • chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
    • diabetes
    • problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
    • a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
    • being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
  • those who are pregnant

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you're staying at home.

Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you're staying at home.


Further advice about staying at home can be found here.

If you live in a residential care setting more advice can be found here.


Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

  • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • your condition gets worse
  • your symptoms do not get better after 7 days


How to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus


  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell


×         do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean


Tips for staying at home

It's important to stay at home to stop coronavirus spreading.


  • avoid non-essential contact with others
  • avoid unnecessary travel
  • work from home if it is possible
  • wash your hands with soap and hot water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell


×         do not have visitors (ask people to leave deliveries outside)

×         do not leave the house, for example to go for a walk, to school or public places


Government support

The Government will provide extra resources to tackle COVID-19. This includes a COVID-19 Response Fund, to fund pressures in the NHS, support local authorities to manage pressures on social care and support vulnerable people, and to help deal with pressures on other public services. The size of the fund will be reviewed as the situation develops, to ensure all necessary resources are made available.

As part of the government’s emergency legislation measures, Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will be paid from day one of sickness to support those affected by COVID-19. This will be a temporary measure to respond to the outbreak and will lapse when it is no longer required.

Individuals employed on zero-hour contracts may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay if their average earnings are at least £118 per week (calculated over an 8-week period). However, those who are ineligible are able to claim Universal Credit and/or contributory Employment and Support Allowance depending on their personal circumstances.

The Government will also bring forward legislation to allow small- and medium-sized businesses to reclaim SSP paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19.



What is being done about supermarket shortages?

The Government has said there is no need for anyone to stockpile items and the Prime Minister has urging people to "behave responsibly and think about others".

In a joint letter, UK retailers have reminded customers to be considerate in their shopping, so that others are not left without much-needed items. Some supermarkets have now limited the sale of some products and restricted customers to buying a maximum number of each item.

The Government is relaxing restrictions on delivery hours for shops to make sure shops remain stocked with basic items amid stockpiling concerns. The environment department, DEFRA said it would work with local councils to increase the frequency of deliveries.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said by allowing night-time deliveries, stock would be able to move more quickly from warehouses to shelves.


Why are schools still open in the UK?

The current Government strategy is being guided by scientists. On 18th March 2020, the Government announced there would be school closures from Friday which will help reduce cases. Schools will still need to look after the children of key workers - such as NHS staff - but also the most vulnerable pupils. Exams will not take place in May and June as planned


What about traders who overcharge on hand gels?

Officials at the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said sellers must not try and “take advantage of people”, stating retailers and traders inflating prices could face prosecution.

The CMA said it would consider writing to the Government to implement pricing measures for certain products if problems arise. The CMA  have urge retailers to behave responsibly throughout the coronavirus outbreak and not to make misleading claims or charge vastly inflated prices. They have also reminded members of the public that these obligations may apply to them too if they resell goods, for example on online marketplaces.


Can I catch COVID-19 from my pet?

No. There is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19. COVID-19 is mainly spread through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently and thoroughly.


What if I have travel plans?

It is advised to be prepared to follow the advice of local authorities abroad. Be ready to comply with local isolation or quarantine requirements, and to rely on the local health system. Furthermore, it is advised to read the details of your travel insurance carefully, and check that you are covered. Contact your insurer if you are uncertain and contact your airline, travel company, cruise line or other transport and accommodation providers to check for any coronavirus-related changes.

If you are aged 70 and over, or if you have underlying health conditions, we advise you against cruise ship travel at this time. Find out more in our cruise ship travel guidance at


What do I do if I am stuck aboard?

Britons stuck abroad due to travel restrictions have been advised to contact their airline, as well as the Foreign Office by calling +44 (0)207 008 1500, so that the Government knows they are trying to get home.


Why are we not screening at the airport?

As has been shown in the comparative decisions of other countries, screening measures have been shown to be ineffective. For example, the first recorded case in the USA passed into the country through an airport screening undetected.


Why have we not closed the borders completely to affected countries?

According to the Government’s scientific advice led by the Chief Medical Officer (Professor Chris Witty) and the Chief Scientific Officer (Sir Patrick Vallance) this is an ineffective measure that would have required all states to do so at the same time to be effective.


Will the Government ban large gatherings?

It is advised that people should avoid places like pubs, clubs and theatres. This applies especially to those in London which is "a few weeks ahead" of the rest of the UK. Furthermore, it is advised that people avoid any unnecessary travel at this time.

The Government has withdrawn support for large gatherings that would require support from emergency services as they are in demand elsewhere.

What’s the point in the Government trying to delay the inevitable?

While it is highly likely that the virus will infect many people in the population, the Government is working on measures to delay the spread of disease to give more time to prepare the NHS for the peak of the disease. By slowing infection rates, the disease peak will be more manageable for NHS staff to provide the best possible care for patients.


More information:

NHS information:


Support for those affected by Covid-19, information about the package of measures announced at Budget 2020 to support public services, individuals and businesses affected:


Travel advice- Guidance for British people travelling and living overseas following the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19):


Stay at home: guidance for people with confirmed or possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection:


Guidance for employees, employers and businesses:


Guidance for schools and other educational settings:

There is a dedicated helpline number for educational settings – please call 0800 046 8687 for any specific question not covered.


Residential care, supported living and home care guidance:


Guidance for staff in the transport sector, including general precautions for staff and guidance on the assessment and management of arrivals into the UK.