What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus. We can all help to protect ourselves and our families by following good hygiene practices.
Stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms
Stay at home 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
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.
How long to stay at home
Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you're staying at home.
- if you have symptoms, stay at home for 7 days
- if you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days, starting on day the first person got symptoms
- it is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community
- 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 you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.
If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.
More information on staying at home from the UK Government
- you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
- your condition gets worse
- your symptoms do not get better after 7 days
Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.
How to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus (social distancing)
Everyone should do what they can to stop coronavirus spreading.
It is particularly important for people who:
- are 70 or over
- have a long-term condition
- are pregnant
- have a weakened immune system
Please also follow advice issued by Public Health England and the NHS. The current advice is to:
- 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 straight away and wash your hands afterwards
- try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- avoid touching your face or eyes, nose and mouth unless your hands are clean
Stay home, protect the NHS, save lives
The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives.
Stay at home
- only go outside for food, health reasons or essential work
- stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
- wash your hands as soon as you get home
Anyone can spread the virus.
When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection. That is why the government has introduced three new measures.
1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes.
2. Closing non-essential shops and community spaces.
3. Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public.
Every citizen must comply with these new measures. The relevant authorities, including the police, will be given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings.
These measures are effective immediately. The Government will look again at these measures in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.
Full Government guidance on staying at home and away from others