How can I protect myself and other people?
Anyone can spread coronavirus. To save lives, you still need to stay at home as much as you can.
This means that you should only be leaving your home for the following reasons:
- for important errands, for example, to buy food, for childhood vaccinations, to attend urgent medical appointments or collect prescriptions or to care for a vulnerable person.
- for exercise.
- You can now also leave your home to meet up with one other household, outdoors, as long as there are no more than 8 people in your group and you maintain physical distancing and good hygiene.
- You can also go outside to do other leisure activities in your local area like sunbathing, sitting in the park, outdoor learning or having a picnic You can now travel short distances in your local area to exercise or do leisure activities, although still avoid public transport if you possibly can.
You can find out more about this on our page about changes to restrictions to outdoor activities.
If you do leave your home, avoid public transport if possible and stay at least 2 metres away from other people - that's slightly more than the width of a car. This will mean you will be less likely to catch or spread the virus when you are out and about. If you or anyone in your household has any symptoms, you must not leave your home.
If we all follow these rules, however difficult, then fewer people will die of this virus than would otherwise be the case.
Can I be tested for coronavirus?
If you have coronavirus symptoms, you should book a test online on the NHS Inform website. If you can’t book online, you can call 0800 028 2816. Anyone over the age of 5 who has symptoms can be tested. Children under 5 are currently not being tested because it involves taking a sample from the nose or the back of the throat, and this process is not effective with small children, and may be stressful for a young child.
If the test is negative, everyone in the household will be able to stop isolating. Until then, however, you must stay at home.
If the test is positive, you must isolate yourself for 7 days and everyone in your household must isolate for 14 days. If you still have a fever after 7 days, you should isolate for 48 hours after the time the fever goes down.
You will also be put in touch with the local contact tracing team so that other close contacts can be identified. These close contacts, as well as everyone in your household, will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days. The test and trace process is confidential, and your close contacts will not be told that it was you that they were in contact with.
It’s important that everyone remains in self-isolation for the full length of time they’re asked to.
What if I've been in close contact with someone with symptoms?
If the local contact tracing team gets in touch with you because you have been in close contact with someone with coronavirus, you’ll need to self-isolate for 14 days. This is because if you have the virus, it may take up to 14 days for it to develop into an illness.
A close contact is someone you’ve had direct contact with at a distance of less than one metre, or have had contact with for longer than 15 minute within 2 metres.
If you have been identified by NHS contact tracers as having been in close contact with a person with coronavirus, you will not be told who it is you have been in contact with.
If you develop coronavirus symptoms, you must isolate yourself for 7 days and get tested.
If you do not have symptoms yourself and are self-isolating as a close contact of someone with coronavirus, other people in your own household will not be asked to isolate along with you – unless they have also been in close contact with a person who is a confirmed case, in which case they will be informed by the NHS.
You can find out more about contact tracing and self-isolation on the NHS Inform website.
Can I go outside if I have symptoms?
No. If you or anyone else in your household develops symptoms of coronavirus such as a high temperature or a new and continuous cough or a loss of/change in smell or taste, that person must stay at home for 7 days. In addition, everyone else in the household must stay at home for 14 days. If you need something ask someone out with your household to get it for you or have it delivered and left at your front door.
You can leave the house after 7 days if you're improving and you no longer have a temperature. If you still have a temperature, you shouldn’t leave the house until 48 hours after it has gone down. It's okay to leave the house after 7 days, even if you still have a cough.
If a household member develops coronavirus symptoms late in the 14-day household-isolation period (for example, on day 13 or day 14) the household isolation period does not need to be extended, but the person with the new symptoms has to stay at home for 7 days.
You can find all the information about what you need to do in the NHS Inform website here.
Can I meet up with other people?
You can now meet with people from one other household a day outdoors, as long as you stay two metres apart and there are no more than 8 of you. You should not meet indoors at this stage. You can find out more about this on our page about changes to outdoor restrictions.
What activities can I leave the house to do?
- You can go outside to do leisure activities in your local area like sunbathing, sitting in the park, outdoor learning or having a picnic – in other words, you no longer need to be exercising or running an essential errand to be out of the house!
- You can now travel short distances in your local area to exercise or do leisure activities, although avoid public transport if you possibly can.
- You can now go to a garden centre, although cafes will be closed.
- You can do non-contact activities in your local area such as angling, archery, athletics (running and jogging), croquet, cycling, riding, golf, walking, water sports, lawn bowls and outdoor tennis.
I’m pregnant – what should I do?
We realise this is a worrying time to be pregnant. You can find further advice on our page about pregnancy and coronavirus and on the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists website.
What if my partner or ex-partner and I both look after our children but live in separate homes?
If you and your partner live in separate homes but take turns to look after your children, you can continue to do this. Our page on shared parenting has more information.
Looking after yourself
These are all dramatic changes that we’re having to make. But it’s important to follow these guidelines so you can help protect your family’s health and the health of your community.
We have some useful advice on looking after you and your child’s mental health during this time:
- Mental health advice for parents during coronavirus
- Mental health advice for soon-to-be and new parents during coronavirus
- Supporting your child’s mental health during coronavirus
You can also find advice on the Mind website about coronavirus and your wellbeing.