Health and wellbeing Coronavirus

Health advice

Last updated at 10.33am, Wednesday 25 March 

Stay at home

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.

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.

  • 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.

Full guidance on staying at home and away from others

What is coronavirus and should I be concerned?

Typical symptoms of coronavirus include fever and a cough that may progress to a severe pneumonia causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. 
Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. 

Stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms

Stay at home for 7 days if you have either:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough

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.

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 7 days

Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

Online help

Visiting public spaces 

The Government has issued advice on actions we should all be taking to reduce social interaction and limit contact between people in order to reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).  This is called ‘social distancing’.

It says we should:

  • 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, varying your travel times to avoid rush hour, when possible
  • work from home, where possible.
  • avoid large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars, clubs
  • 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

While the 'social distancing' advice applies to everybody, Government are advising those who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) to be particularly stringent in following the social distancing measures, particularly if you:

  • are over 70
  • have an underlying health condition
  • are pregnant

This advice is likely to be in place for some weeks


You should stay calm and take simple steps such as washing your hands regularly.


  • 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 immediately.
  • wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel (with an alcohol content of at least 60%) if soap and water are not available
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell


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

NHS and Government advice

Department for Education helpline

The Department for Education has set up a coronavirus helpline for teachers, parents and young people: 

  • Phone 0800 046 8687 (8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday)

Is it safe to visit people in care homes?

Most people can continue to visit family and friends living in care homes. You can visit a care home unless you have travelled to an affected country or been in close and sustained contact with someone who has been diagnosed with coronavirus. Good hygiene procedures, which care homes will already be familiar with, can help prevent the spread of illnesses.

Advice for carers

If you are the carer of someone with confirmed coronavirus, Public Health England will contact and advise you as part of their contact tracing. If the person you care for has had a test for coronavirus and is awaiting a result, follow the NHS advice for self-isolation.

What to do if you become unwell in a public space

If you become unwell with possible coronavirus when you’re out and about, do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. 

  • try to find a room to isolate yourself away from others. Ask for help if you need to, but try to stay at least two metres away from other people 
  • open a window for ventilation if you can, but otherwise, touch objects and surfaces as little as possible 
  • phone the NHS 111 or use the online coronavirus service to find out what to do next 
  • see the self-isolation advice provided by the NHS

What to do if you become unwell on public transport

  • go back to your home or place of residence immediately 
  • try to avoid close contact with other people and touch objects and surfaces as little as possible 
  • phone the NHS 111 or use the online coronavirus service to find out what to do next

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