Coronavirus: How to Protect Yourself and Others

Stay at home if you or someone you live with have either: 

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough

For more information of self-isolating, click here.

Handwashing and respiratory hygiene

There are general principles you can follow to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • washing your hands more often - with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitiser when you get home or into work, when you blow your nose, sneeze or cough, eat or handle food
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • avoid close contact with people who have symptoms
  • cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin and wash your hands
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home

wash your hands

Staying at Home and Away from Others

The Government is requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes,  to reduce pressures on health services and stop the spread of coronavirus.

When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection. That is why the government is now (23 March 2020) introducing three new measures. 

 
1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes 

  • Shopping for basic necessities​, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
  • One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household.
  • Any medical need​, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
  • Travelling to and from work​, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.

These four reasons are exceptions - even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household.  
 
These measures must be followed by everyone. Separate advice is available for individuals or households who are isolating​, and for the ​most vulnerable who need to be shielded​.  

If you work in a critical sector outlined in this​guidance​, or your child has been identified as vulnerable, you can continue to take your children to school.​Where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes 

2. Closing non-essential shops and community spaces 

Last week, the Government ordered certain businesses - including pubs, cinemas and theatres - to close. 
 
The Government is now extending this requirement to a further set of businesses and other venues, including: 

  • all non-essential retail stores - this will include clothing and electronics stores; hair, beauty and nail salons; and outdoor and indoor markets, excluding food markets.
  • libraries, community centres, and youth centres​.
  • indoor and outdoor leisure facilities​ such as bowling alleys, arcades and soft play facilities.
  • communal places within parks​, such as playgrounds, sports courts and outdoor gyms.
  • places of worship, ​except for funerals attended by immediate families.
  • hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan parks, and boarding houses for commercial/leisure use (excluding permanent residents and key workers). 

More detailed information can be found ​here​, including a full list of those businesses and other venues that must close. Businesses and other venues not on this list may remain open. 
 

3. Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public 

To make sure people are staying at home and apart from each other, the Government is also​stopping all public gatherings of more than two people​. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet and social media.
 
There are only two exceptions to this rule: 

  • where the gathering is of a group of people who live togethe​r - this means that a parent can, for example, take their children to the shops if there is no option to leave them at home. 
  • where the gathering is essential for work purposes - but workers should be trying to minimise all meetings and other gatherings in the workplace.  

In addition, the Government is stopping social events, including weddings, baptisms and other religious ceremonies. This will exclude funerals, which can be attended by immediate family.  
 
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. 
 
These measures are effective immediately. The Government will look again at these measures in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible. 

Looking after your mental wellbeing

Understandably, you may find that social distancing can be boring or frustrating. You may find your mood and feelings are affected and you may feel low, worried or have problems sleeping and you might miss being outside with other people.

At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour which in turn can make you feel worse. There are simple things you can do that may help, to stay mentally and physically active during this time such as:

  • look for ideas of exercises you can do at home on the NHS website
  • spend time doing things you enjoy – this might include reading, cooking, other indoor hobbies or listening to the radio or watching TV programmes
  • try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water and try to avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs
  • keep your windows open to let in fresh air, get some natural sunlight if you can, or get outside into the garden
  • You can also go for a walk or exercise outdoors if you stay more than 2 metres from others.

For more information on how to look after your mental wellbeing, visit mind.org.uk or phone 0300 123 3393. 

Getting assistance with foods and medicines

Ask family, friends and neighbours to support you and use online services. If this is not possible, then the public sector, business, charities, and the general public are gearing up to help those advised to stay at home. It is important to speak to others and ask them to help you to make arrangements for the delivery of food, medicines and essential services and supplies, and look after your physical and mental health and wellbeing.

If you receive support from health and social care organisations, for example, if you have care provided for you through the local authority or health care system, this will continue as normal. Your health or social care provider will be asked to take additional precautions to make sure that you are protected. The advice for formal carers is included in the Home care provision.

What should you do if you have hospital and GP appointments during this period?

We advise everyone to access medical assistance remotely, wherever possible. However, if you have a scheduled hospital or other medical appointment during this period, talk to your GP or clinician to ensure you continue to receive the care you need and consider whether appointments can be postponed.

nhs