As we live through these strange and challenging times, it can become unclear of what is expected of us, and as the current situation develops, new advice is sought and given. We aim to update this page as we receive guidance on how best to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe and well.
Please visit this page regularly to receive up to date information from Public Health England and central Government.
In the meantime....
Help the NHS and Government understand where the areas are most effected in the UK by joining up to https://covid.joinzoe.com/
Take 1-minute to self-report daily, even if you are well. Help our scientists identify:
- High-risk areas in the UK.
- Who is most at risk, by better understanding symptoms linked to underlying health conditions.
- How fast the virus is spreading in your area.
The latest Government advice is to stay at home and only go outside for the absolute essentials, such as for food, health reasons or essential work. If you do go out, please remember to practice 'social distancing'.
What is social distancing?
Social distancing measures are steps you can take to reduce social interaction between people. This will help reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).
They are to:
- Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
- Avoid non-essential use of public transport when possible
- Work from home, where possible. Your employer should support you to do this. Please refer to employer guidance for more information
- Avoid large and small gatherings in public spaces, noting that pubs, restaurants, leisure centres and similar venues are currently shut as infections spread easily in closed spaces where people gather together.
- Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, Internet, and social media
- Use telephone or online
- services to contact your GP or other essential services
Everyone should be trying to follow these measures as much as is practicable.
We strongly advise you to follow the above measures as much as you can and to significantly limit your face-to-face interaction with friends and family if possible, particularly if you:
- are over 70
- have an underlying health condition
- are pregnant
This advice is likely to be in place for some weeks. More information is available by clicking here.
So why should we follow measures that seem so extreme?
The answer is simple. Social distancing works. It reduces transmission of the virus effectively and lessens the impact on already stretched healthcare services.
Flattening the curve
The idea of flattening the curve is statistical model which compares the effects of communities living life as 'business as usual' or practicing effective 'social distancing'. Although we can't stop the virus from spreading, we can slow the rate of infection, and therefore, limit the number of people becoming infected and becoming seriously ill.
What's the difference between self-isolation social-distancing and social shielding?
Social distancing is about ways to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus.
This is about significantly limiting face-to-face contact if you can and making sure that essential visitors (such as health care services, carers or family members) follow hand washing and hygiene advice scrupulously. They should not visit you if you are unwell but make other arrangements for your care.
You can go outside for a walk to the park or into your garden if you stay more than 3 steps (2 metres) from others.
Self-isolation applies to people who have symptoms of coronavirus and people who live with them.
In addition to social distancing steps, this involves:
- Staying at home and not going out. Do not leave your home to walk (such as in a park) or to visit schools or other public places. You can go into your garden if you have one.
- Staying away from other people in your home. Try to keep at least 3 steps (2 metres) away from others, particularly people over 70 or with a long-term condition
- Sleeping alone if you can
- Not having any visitors. Ask people to leave deliveries for you outside.
Social shielding applies to people whose long-term lung condition means they are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus.
Shielding is a way to protect people who are extremely vulnerable from coming into contact with coronavirus by minimising all interaction between them and other people.
People in this group will receive a letter by Sunday 29 March from the NHS in England or be contacted by their GP to give further advice. They, or their carer, will also be able to register for a new service to get coronavirus support over the week beginning 23 March 2020.
They are strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for at least 12 weeks, from the day they receive their letter. This period of time may change.
They should self-isolate. People who provide essential support, such as health care, personal support for daily needs and social care should continue to visit. But carers must stay away if they have any symptoms of coronavirus.
People in this group who think they’ve developed coronavirus symptoms of coronavirus should get advice from the NHS 111 online service or call NHS 111 as soon as they get symptoms.
When should I go to the Hospital?
Even though the country is gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic there are still times when we need to visit the hospital for other reasons such as , injury or other types of illness. During this time many people are unsure if it is appropriate to visit the hospital to be seen under such circumstances.
To help guide you through making this decision, please refer to the poster to support your decision making here.