Things that everyone can do to help control the virus:
- Work from home if you can
- Keep your distance from others if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
- Wash your hands regularly
- Self-isolate if you or anyone in your household has symptoms
- Wear a face covering in shops or when using public transport (unless exempt)
What is COVID-19 and what are the symptoms?
If you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, get a test and stay at home until you get the results.
The main symptoms of COVID-19 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
But, sometimes people who test positive also have the following, without the main 3 symptoms:
- Headache that lasts a long time
- Muscle or full body aches
- Sore throat
- Blocked or runny nose
- Sickness or vomiting
- Tired and unwell
If you don’t have the 3 main symptoms, but you do feel ill with other problems in this list, please also book a free PCR test.
If in any doubt please book a PCR test.
You can register for one online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus and tick the box that says your local authority asked you to take a test. Or ring 119 and say the same thing to book a test.
Staying at home if you have symptoms (self-isolation)
If your symptoms are mild you must stay at home. This is called self-isolation. Read about when to self-isolate and what to do.
Changes from 16 August - self-isolation for fully-vaccinated adults
Fully-vaccinated adults will no longer be legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. (Fully vaccinated means you have had both doses of the vaccine and that two weeks have passed since the second dose, which is when we say that the vaccine is able to give the most protection).
If identified as a close contact they will be advised to book a PCR test to see if they have the virus, too. Legally, they must self-isolate if their PCR test result comes back positive.
Changes from 16 August - self-isolation for adults who are unvaccinated, or not yet fully vaccinated (2 doses)
The rules will not change for adults who:
- Are unvaccinated,
- have only had their first dose, or,
- Have had two doses – BUT not had the two-week period since their second jab (the two weeks is the time to build up the full protection the vaccine can offer).
Legally, they must self-isolate if they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. They will also need to have a PCR test to see if they have the virus, too. Even if the result is negative they will still need to finish their isolation period and stay at home.
Changes from 16 August - self-isolation for children
From Aug 16 all under 18s (whether they have had the vaccine or not) will not have to self-isolate if they are a close contact of someone who has COVID-19. But, they will be asked to have a PCR test (this is for chidren over the age of 5) to see if they have the virus. If it comes back positive they will have to self-isolate.
Children under the age of 5 who are identified as close contacts would only be asked to have a PCR test if the person who tested positive lives with them.
Self-isolation for critical services
Until the rules to self-isolation change on 16 August 2021, in the small number of situations where the self-isolation of close contacts would result in serious disruption to critical services, a limited number of named workers may be able to leave self-isolation under specific controls for the purpose of undertaking critical work only.
This policy only applies to specific workplaces who have been sent a letter from Government and only named workers in those approved workplaces who are fully vaccinated (defined as someone who is 14 days post-final dose) and who have been identified as close contacts.
Where employers believe the self-isolation of certain key employees as contacts would result in serious disruption to critical services, they should contact the relevant government department - you can find the contact details and further information on gov.uk
Clinically vulnerable people
Shielding ended on 31 March. Read the guidance on protecting people defined as medically vulnerable on gov.uk.
Get mental health support by text message
The SHOUT text messaging service gives free, confidential mental health support by text message, and is now available to people of all ages in Greater Manchester who are in crisis.
Advice for carers
If you are the carer of someone with confirmed COVID-19, 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 COVID-19 and is awaiting a result, follow the NHS advice for self-isolation.
Smokers may be more seriously affected by COVID-19 than non-smokers, so there's never been a better time to give up.
The following resources are available to help you quit smoking: