Health and wellbeing Coronavirus - Health advice

Health Advice

Last updated at 1.40pm, Friday 3 July

We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:

  • Stay at home as much as possible
  • Work from home if you can
  • Limit contact with other people
  • Keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Self-isolate if you or anyone in your household has symptoms

Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can't do

What is coronavirus and should I be concerned?

The symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are usually mild, but some people can become very unwell.

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms.

Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if if you have a 

  • high temperature
  • new, continuous cough
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

111 will tell you what to do and help you get a test if you need one. 

Test and Trace System FAQs

Call 111 if you cannot get help online. Do not go to places like a GP surgery, hospital or pharmacy.

Staying at home if you have symptoms (self-isolation)

If your symptoms are mild you must not leave your home. This is called self-isolation.

  • Anyone with symptoms must self-isolate for 7 days from when their symptoms started.
  • Anyone who does not have symptoms must self-isolate for 14 days from when the first person in your home started having symptoms.

Read more about when to self-isolate and what to do.

Other COVID-19 Health Advice 

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.

Dental care

For urgent dental care call 0333 332 3800

Online help

Working safely during Coronavirus

Staying Safe outside your home in England 

Keep your distance from people outside your household

The risk of infection is higher the closer you are to another person with the virus, and the amount of time you spend in close contact with them. Therefore, you are unlikely to be infected if you walk past another person in the street.

The government recommends keeping two metres away from people as a precaution or one metre when you can mitigate the risk by taking other precautions listed below.

Avoid being face-to-face with people if they are outside your household or support bubble

You are at higher risk of being directly exposed to respiratory droplets (released by talking or coughing) when you are within two metres of someone and have face-to-face contact with them. You can lower the risk of infection if you stay side-to-side rather than facing someone. The key thing is not to be too close to people outside your household or support bubble. If you must, keep it as brief as possible.

Keep your hands and face as clean as possible:

  • Wash your hands often using soap and water, and dry them thoroughly.
  • Where available, use sanitiser outside your home, especially as you enter a building and after you have had contact with surfaces. Avoid touching your face.

Keep indoor places well ventilated

The virus is less likely to be passed on outdoors and in well-ventilated buildings.

In good weather, try to leave windows and doors open in areas where people from different households come into contact, or move activity outdoors if you can.

Use external extractor fans to keep spaces well ventilated and make sure that ventilation systems are set to maximise the air flow rate.

Heating and cooling systems can be used at their normal temperature settings.

Avoid crowded spaces

You can lower the risks of transmission by reducing the number of people you come into close contact with. For example, avoid peak travel times on public transport, where possible and avoid densely crowded areas. Small groups in small spaces pose a risk as well as large, close crowds.

Businesses should also take reasonable steps to avoid people being gathered together. For example, by reducing density in meeting rooms and social spaces, allowing the use of more entrances and exits, and staggering entrance and exit points and work shifts, where possible.

Work from home if you can

If you can do your job from home you should continue to do so, but you and your employer should discuss and agree working arrangements to best suit the needs of the business.

If you have to travel (for example, to work or school), think about how and when you travel

Try to walk or cycle wherever possible. If you have to use public transport, you should try to avoid peak times. Employers should consider staggering working hours, expanding bicycle storage facilities, providing changing facilities and providing car parking.

Face coverings

You must wear a face covering at all times on public transport or when attending a hospital as a visitor or outpatient.

Hospitals will be able to provide a face covering in emergencies. If you can, you should also wear a face covering in other enclosed public spaces where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet. 

This is most relevant for short periods indoors in crowded areas. You should be prepared to remove your face covering if asked to do so by police officers and staff for the purposes of identification.

Evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you. However, if you are infected but have not yet developed symptoms, it may provide some protection for others you come into close contact with.

Face coverings do not replace social distancing. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, and/or high temperature, and/or loss of, or change in, your normal sense of smell or taste - anosmia), you and your household must isolate at home: wearing a face covering does not change this. You should arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19.

Face coverings should not be used by children under the age of 3 or those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly.

It is important to use face coverings properly and wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off.

You can make face-coverings at home. The key thing is it should cover the mouth and nose.

Avoid shouting or singing close to people outside your household or support bubble

There is some evidence to suggest that shouting and singing increase the amount of respiratory droplets and aerosols people release and therefore the risk of transmission between people if they are doing either in close proximity to those outside their household. 

You should avoid doing either with people outside your household or social bubble.

Reduce the number of people you spend time with in a work setting

You can lower the risks of transmission in the workplace by reducing the number of people you come into contact with regularly, where you can. Your employer can support with this (where practical) by:

  • changing shift patterns and rotas to match you with the same team each time
  • splitting people into smaller, contained teams

Wash your clothes regularly

There is some evidence that the virus can stay on fabrics for a few days, although usually it is shorter. Therefore, if you are working with people outside your household, wash your clothes regularly. Changing clothes in workplaces should only be considered where there is a high risk of infection or there are highly vulnerable people, such as in a care home. If you need to change your clothes, avoid crowding into a changing room.

When at work or in business or public premises, follow the advice on site

Employers, business owners and organisations have a duty to assess and manage risks to your safety in the workplace and on their premises. The government has issued guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus. This includes guidance on how to make adjustments to help you maintain social distancing.

It also includes guidance on hygiene, as evidence suggests that the virus can exist for up to 72 hours on surfaces. Therefore, frequent cleaning is particularly important for communal surfaces like:

  • door handles
  • lift buttons
  • communal areas like bathrooms
  • kitchens
  • tea points

You can see the guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus on and can ask your employer if you have questions.

Social Distancing advice for England from 4 July 2020 (if local restrictions are not in place) 

On 23 June 2020, the government continued to ease COVID-19 restrictions, as the virus is currently considered to be in general circulation, but transmission is no longer high or rising exponentially. So from the 4 July:

  • you can meet in groups of up to two households (your support bubble counts as one household) in any location - public or private, indoors or outdoors. You do not always have to meet with the same household - you can meet with different households at different times. However, it remains the case - even inside someone’s home - that you should socially distance from anyone not in your household or bubble. This change also does not affect the support you receive from your carers. There is guidance on how to see your friends and family safely.
  • when you are outside you can continue to meet in groups of up to six people from different households, following social distancing guidelines
  • those who have been able to form a support bubble (i.e. those in single adult households) can continue to have close contact as if they live with the other people in the bubble, but you should not change who you have formed a support bubble with
  • additional businesses and venues, including restaurants, pubs, cinemas, visitor attractions, hotels, and campsites will be able to open - but we will continue to keep closed certain premises where the risks of transmission may be higher
  • other public places, such as libraries, community centres, places of worship, outdoor playgrounds and outdoor gyms will be able to open
  • you can stay overnight away from your home with your own household or support bubble, or with members of one other household (where you need to keep social distancing). There is guidance on how to see your friends and family safely.
  • it will be against the law to gather in groups larger than 30 people, except for a limited set of circumstances to be set out in law and unless all members of the group are exclusively from two households. Police will have the power to break up groups larger than 30, apart from these exceptions.

For more information about what you should and should not do during the coronavirus outbreak visit the governments FAQs page.

Visiting public places in England (if local restrictions are not in place) 

You can spend time outdoors, including for exercise, as often as you wish. At all times, you should follow the guidance on group sizes and the guidance on staying safe outside your home.

If you can, you should avoid using public transport, and aim to walk, cycle, or drive instead. It is not possible to social distance during car journeys and transmission of coronavirus can definitely occur in this context. So avoid travelling with someone from outside your household or, your support bubble unless you can practise social distancing. If you need to use public transport to complete your journey you should follow the guidelines in place, and must wear a face covering.

You should plan ahead to ensure that, where you are visiting places like National Parks, beaches or other visitor attractions, you have checked that they are open and appropriately prepared for visitors. It is important to avoid large crowds where it may not be possible to socially distance.

When travelling to outdoor spaces, it is important that people respect the rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and do not travel to different parts of the UK where their intended activities there would be prohibited by legislation passed by the relevant devolved administration.

Clinically vulnerable people 

If you have any of the following health conditions, you may be clinically vulnerable, meaning you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. Although you can meet people outdoors and, from 4 July (unless llocal restrictions are in place) , indoors, you should be especially careful and be diligent about social distancing and hand hygiene.

Clinically vulnerable people are those who are:

  • aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
  • under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (that is, anyone instructed to get a flu jab each year on medical grounds):
  • chronic (long-term) mild to moderate respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
  • chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
  • chronic kidney disease
  • chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
  • chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), or cerebral palsy
  • diabetes
  • a weakened immune system as the result of certain conditions or medicines they are taking (such as steroid tablets)
  • being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
  • pregnant women

There is a further group of people who are defined, also on medical grounds, as clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus – that is, people with specific serious health conditions - and who have been advised to ‘shield’. The govt  are relaxing advice to those shielding in two stages - as long as the incidence rate in the community remains low:
From 6 July (unless local restrictions are in place) :

  • those shielding can spend time outdoors in a group of up to 6 people (including those outside of their household). Extra care should be taken to minimise contact with others by maintaining social distancing. This can be in a public outdoor space, or in a private garden or uncovered yard or terrace
  • those shielding no longer need to observe social distancing with other members of their household
  • those who are shielding will be able to create a ‘support bubble’ with one other household, as long as one of the households in the bubble is a single adult household (either an adult living alone or with dependent children under 18). All those in a support bubble can spend time together inside each others’ homes, including overnight, without needing to maintain social distancing. This follows the same rules on support bubbles that apply to the wider population now

From 1 August advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people will move in line with advice to those who are clinically vulnerable. This means staying at home as much as possible, and if people do go out, taking particular care to minimise contact with others outside their household (unless you are in a support bubble) and robustly practising good, frequent hand washing.

The relaxation of the shielding guidance will mean people who are clinically extremely vulnerable will be advised they can go to work or to the shops, as long as they are able to maintain social distancing as much as possible and their workplace is COVID-19 Secure.
Support for those shielding will continue to the end of July so that people can plan for these changes.

For more information about COVID-19 guidance, visit GOV.UK

NHS and Government advice

Get mental health support by text message

The SHOUT messaging service gives free, confidential support by text message, and is now available to people of all ages.

Visiting people in care homes?

If you have family and friends living in care homes please liaise with the care home’s management to see whether it is safe to visit.

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


We know that smokers may be more seriously affected by Covid-19 than non-smokers, so there's never been a better time to give up.

You can refer yourself or others, with their consent of course, for our Be smoke free Manchester initiative. Or you can get help by calling the Stop Smoking Greater Manchester Helpline on 0300 123 1044 between 9am and 8pm Monday to Friday, or 11am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday.

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