Social distancing / Self-isolation

HM Government COVID-19 guidance on social distancing

Detailed government guidance on staying at home is available here.

Detailed government guidance on shielding the clinically extremely vulnerable can be found here.

Detailed government guidance about self isolation for households with possible infection can be read here.

***Please find below a summary of the key points from government guidance. However, be aware this information was last updated on Tuesday 24th March. While it will be updated as and when there is new information, please bear in mind that it may be out of date by the time of reading and you should always check the government's live guidance.***

STAY SAFE, STAY HOME

If everyone takes the steps that have been outlined by the Prime Minister, the government are confident that we can turn the tide within twelve weeks, save thousands of lives, and start getting back to some normality, BUT ONLY IF WE ALL DO WE HAVE BEEN ASKED TO DO.

So, please, follow the social distancing measures that have been outlined by the NHS: self-isolate if you or someone in your family has any symptoms; self-isolate if you are over 70, are pregnant or have any of the underlying health conditions that have been specified; travel only when essential; and WASH YOUR HANDS!

STAY AT HOME, PROTECT THE NHS, SAVE LIVES

     

    Who should stay at home?

    These measures must be followed by everyone.

    The government has instructed that you should only leave the house for one of four reasons:

    • Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
    • One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household.
    • Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
    • Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.

    These four reasons are exceptions - even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household.

    Separate advice is available for individuals or households who are isolating, and for the most vulnerable who need to be shielded.

     

    What is the guidance for vulnerable people?

    The government are advising those who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus to be particularly stringent in following measures, particularly if you:

    • are aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
    • are under 70 with an underlying health condition
    • are pregnant

     

    What is the guidance on shielding the clinically extremely vulnerable?

    Detailed government guidance on shielding the clinically extremely vulnerable can be found here.

    Government registration for support as an extremely vulnerable person is available here.

    This guidance is for people, including children, who are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus because of an underlying health condition. If you have an underlying health condition listed by the NHS, you are at very high risk of severe illness as a result of coronavirus requiring admission to hospital.

    You are strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks from the day you receive your letter. Please note that this period of time could change.

    The NHS in England is directly contacting people with these conditions. If you think you fall into one of the categories of extremely vulnerable people listed above and you have not received a letter by Sunday 29th March 2020 or been contacted by your GP, you should discuss your concerns with your GP or hospital clinician.

    The government understands people considered extremely vulnerable will have questions and concerns. Plans are being readied to make sure you can rely on a wide range of help and support.

    How do these measures differ from the social distancing guidance for vulnerable people? People who are not clinically extremely vulnerable who have contracted coronavirus and recovered may be able to go about their normal business. If you clinically extremely vulnerable, we strongly advise that you should remain at home at all times.

     

    Can I go to the theatre, cinema, the pub, a restaurant, clubs... ?

    No. To save lives, the government has now told bars, restaurants and cafes to close and not to reopen – although they can still do takeaways and deliveries – and told nightclubs, theatres, cinemas, leisure centres and gyms to close too. The government has also said you should only leave the house for one of four reasons - and that does not include these. This will help reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). While 90% of people will recover from this virus - some will get seriously ill and it is these people we need to protect.

     

    When should you self-isolate?

    Detailed government guidance about self isolation for households with possible infection can be read here.

    • Stay at home if you or someone you live with have either a high temperature or a new, continuous cough.

    • Self-isolation will save lives - it's important you follow the guidance if you're affected.

    • You must self-isolate for 7 days if you live alone.

    • You must all self-isolate for 14 days if you live with others (if someone gets symptoms during isolation all householders must remain symptom free for 7 days even if that means isolating for more than 14 days).

    • After this time, if you feel better and no longer have a high temperature, the government guidance on leaving self isolation is here.

    • You do not need to call NHS 111 to self-isolate.

    • If your symptoms worsen during isolation or are no better after 7 days contact the NHS online coronavirus service. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999. 

     

    Why should you self-isolate?

    Self-isolation will save lives - it's important you follow the guidance if you're affected. It is very important that individuals with symptoms that may be due to coronavirus and their household members stay at home. Staying at home will help control the spread of the virus to friends, the wider community, and particularly the most vulnerable. While 90% of people will recover from this virus - some will get seriously ill and it is these people we need to protect.

     

    How should I look after myself when I self-isolate?

    •    Get plenty of rest
    •    Drink plenty of water (fluids)
    •    Eat as healthily as you can
    •    To reduce pain and fever take paracetamol (if you use other mediation get in touch with your care provider)
    •    Keep in contact with friends and family by phone, video and online

     

    What is the handwashing and respiratory hygiene guidance?

    There are general principles you can follow to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

    • washing your hands more often - with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitiser when you get home or into work, when you blow your nose, sneeze or cough, eat or handle food
    • avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
    • avoid close contact with people who have symptoms
    • cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin and wash your hands
    • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home

     

    Do I need to wear a face mask?

    When you're doing normal day-to-day activities face masks do little to protect people from viruses. The best way to reduce any risk of infections is with good hygiene, like washing your hands, not touching your face and avoiding social contact (within 2 metres) with any potentially infected person.

    Healthcare professionals may wear special masks if they're spending hours each day looking after people who have tested positive for coronavirus, or may have been infected. If someone has been told they have coronavirus, they may be advised to wear a mask to protect others.

     

    Page last updated 24th March 2020.