About this page
This page provides official health advice from the NHS, as well as announcements about the steps the government is taking to limit the spread of the virus, and support those who have been affected by the widespread disruption.
Please visit the tabs on this page for specific heath advice, government action and support for employees and employers, energy costs, help for those who rent a property or let a property, school closures, travel advice and local voluntary support.
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
Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms. For further information read the FAQs document here.
What is coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a type of virus. The coronavirus currently affecting the UK is often referred to as coronavirus, but it is sometimes called COVID-19. For information about this virus, please use the government’s webpage, https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus rather than relying on any unofficial source of information.
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, older people, and for those with long term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.
What are the symptoms?
If you are infected you may have very minor symptoms, minor symptoms or more severe symptoms, but the NHS cites two symptoms to look out for as:
- A new continuous cough
- A fever or high temperature
What should I do if I have either of the above symptoms?
Don't go to your local hospital, call, or go to your GP, or call the NHS’ 111 device service. Instead, isolate yourself at home immediately for 7 days. If you live with others, you should all isolate yourselves at home for 14 days. This 14-day period starts from the day the first person in the home noticed the symptoms. The evidence suggests that staying at home for 14 days significantly reduces the number of people in the community that will become infected with the virus.For anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period.
If at-risk people share your home - such as those who are older and those with underlying health conditions - it is advisable for them to move out, and stay with friends or family for the whole isolation period. They need to minimise contact with others during this period whether or not they are able to move out.
For further information read this government advice on staying at home and isolating:
What should I do if self-isolation is difficult?
- If you can't manage with your symptoms at home, or
- If your conditions get worse, or
- If your symptoms do not get better after 7 days
- Then you should use the online 111 service at https://111.nhs.uk/. Only if you can't use the online service should you call 111
How can you avoid getting and spreading the virus?
Scientists think the virus spreads via droplets from coughs and sneezes and we know it spreads easily and can stay on surfaces for a while. It's possible that a lot of us will get it and be affected by it, but if you follow the advice below you will reduce your risk and the risk to others.
- Avoid non-essential contact with others - work from home if you can, avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and mass gatherings
- Wash your hands - with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds. Do this before leaving home and after returning home, before eating and drinking, and after coughing or sneezing
- Cover your mouth and nose - with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze - tissue in the bin and wash, or disinfect, your hands immediately
- Don't touch your face - especially your eyes, nose and mouth
- Clean surfaces - disinfect surfaces around you - especially mobiles, computers, keyboards, worktops, desks, door handles, etc.
- Isolating yourself
Stay at home for 7 (individual) or 14 (group) days - this means not going out at all - do this even if you think your symptoms are mild
Ask for help - if you find it hard to stay at home - text, email, phone, friends, family, employers or your community to get help - but they mustn't come into your home
Keep your distance - keep 2 metres (around 3 steps) away from others - including family - for the full period - do not go to your GP surgery or hospital
Sleep alone - if you can sleep alone you must - it will help ensure people you live with aren't infected
Keep washing your hands - often and for 20 seconds with soap and water helps
Drink plenty of fluids - and take everyday pain killers like paracetamol if you need to
Keep cleaning - so you keep surfaces clean
Reduce contact with at risk people - people over 70, women who are pregnant and those with underlying health conditions are more at risk - help keep them safe.
Test and Trace
The new NHS Test and Trace service has launched - it will help to identify, contain and control coronavirus, reduce the spread of the virus and save lives. Anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share information about their recent interactions. This could include household members, people with whom they have been in direct contact, or within 2 metres for more than 15 minutes.
People identified as having been in close contact with someone who has a positive test must stay at home for 14 days, even if they do not have symptoms, to stop unknowingly spreading the virus.
If those in isolation develop symptoms, they can book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. If they test positive, they must continue to stay at home for 7 days or until their symptoms have passed. If they test negative, they must complete the 14-day isolation period.
The government has also expanded testing availability for children aged under 5, to help support the phased opening of schools and childcare settings in England from 1 June.
You can keep up-to-date with government information about coronavirus (COVID-19) by signing up for regular alerts, by following this link:
These are the key telephone hotlines for those with specific questions about the ways in which disruption is affecting them.
Please check that your query is not covered by advice offered on government websites before calling. This is especially true for the 111 service.