Information on Coronavirus (Covid-19) - updated

Read the latest advice and information from NHS England and Public Health England about the Coronavirus
washing hands

Correct as of 30 March 2020

Stay at home

On Monday 23 March, the Government outlined new measures for everyone to stay at home to stop the spread of the virus  -  saving lives and protecting the NHS.

For the next three weeks, new rules have come into force. These are for everyone apart from people who are either self-isolating because they have symptoms or shielding themselves at home because they are most medically at risk.

You can leave home only to:

  • exercise once a day - alone or with your household
  • travel to and from work for essential work that cannot be done at home
  • buy food or medicines but keep trips as infrequent as possible.
  • sort a medical need or to provide care or help a vulnerable person

Gatherings of more than two people are banned

The only exceptions are

  • unless the group lives together (this means that a parent can, for example, take their children to the shops if there is no option to leave them at home)
  • essential for work

You also need to

  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from others
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

If you don't follow the advice, you could be fined.

The measures are initially for three weeks, from last night. They'll be reviewed and relaxed if possible

Read more

Shielding advice for those most medically at risk 

The Government has issued specific advice for about 1.5million people who are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) because of an underlying health condition.

About 1.5 milliion people are being contacted with detailed advice on how to "shield" themselves from the disease by minimising all interaction with others.

They include those with organ transplants, severe respiratory conditions such as cystic fibrosis and severe chronic bronchitis (COPD) or specific cancers such as of the blood or bone marrow.

The new advice, starting Monday 23 March, means staying at home and not leaving the house - even for shopping - for at least 12 weeks. Your home includes your garden, but you must stay more than two metres away from other people.

A helpline is being set up and a special support system will make sure basic groceries and medication is delivered.

Read more

The UK is approaching the fast growth period of the virus – a new disease that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.

The UK Chief Medical Officer says the risk to the public is high. Without this “drastic” action, cases will double every five to six days.

With schools now closed for most pupils, working families are advised not to place children with older relatives such as grandparents who are more at risk from the virus.

Looking after your mental health and wellbeing

New mental health and wellbeing advice was issued by the Government on 29 March to help families through the lockdown.

The crisis is impacting everyone's lives - and the new advice includes help for those caring for children or young people, including those with additional needs and disabilities.

Coronavirus symptoms?  Stay at home

Symptoms are:

  • a high temperature 
  • a new continuous cough

If you live alone, stay at home (self isolate) for at least seven days.

If one person in your household has symptoms – everyone must stay at home for at least 14 days.

After 14 days, anyone you live with who does not have symptoms can return to their normal routine.

But, if anyone in your home gets symptoms, they should stay at home for seven days from the day their symptoms start. Even if it means they're at home for longer than 14 days.


This means:

  • Do not go to work, don't use public areas or public transport or taxis.
  • Do not have visitors at your home (unless carers for a vulnerable person)
  • Do not go out to buy food or other essentials. Ask someone to do this for you. If not possible, limit your social contact when you leave the house to get supplies.
  • Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
  • Do not contact 111 to tell them you're staying at home.
  • You don’t need to be tested for coronavirus if you are staying at home

Government guidance on how to stay at home covers double bagging of some rubbish and how to plan your time.

Read more

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 seven days

Use the 111 coronavirus service

How to avoid catching or spreading germs


  • 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.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.

  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.


  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.

Further information

NHS England had produced a list of common questions about coronavirus, covering advice for you and your family, how it's caught and spread, prevention, self-isolation, testing and treatment and foreign travel. 

NHS common questions

Other places for information:

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