The fight against coronavirus will depend on all of us following the advice to help minimise the spread, protect our NHS and each other. If you develop the tell-tale coronavirus symptoms, a dry continuous cough or a temperature you must:
- Self-isolate (stay at home) for 7 days if you live alone.
- If you live with others, ensure everyone in your household stays at home for 14 days from the first day your symptoms developed. Find out more on self-isolation here.
If anyone in your household has Covid-19 symptoms, the NHS is advising that you must all stay at home.
- Please do not visit your GP or local hospital.
- Instead visit the NHS website to check symptoms and follow expert advice.
I know the messages on social distancing from the Government have been unclear, and this has not helped people comply with the advice. But Social Distancing is for everyone and everyone is now advised to take steps to avoid face-to-face interactions including:
- Working from home where possible
- Avoid non-essential public transport
- Avoid gatherings in smaller spaces such as pubs
- Avoid gatherings with friends and family
- Further advice on social distancing is available here.
- wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- always wash your hands when you get home or into work
- use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- 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 and wash your hands afterwards.
Extra advice for at-risk groups
Strict social-distancing is especially important for those in ‘at-risk groups’. To find out whether you are in an ‘at-risk’ group and how to abide by strict social distancing advice click here.
Information for carers can also be found here.
Clinical conditions which may put people at greater risk
There are some clinical conditions which may put people at greater risk. If you are in the categories below, NHS England will directly contact you with advice on the stringent measures you should take. People falling into this group are:
- Solid organ transplant recipients
- People with specific cancers
- People with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer
- People with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
- People having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
- People having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors.
- People who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs.
- People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD
- People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell disease)
- People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection
- Women who are pregnant and who also have significant heart disease, congenital or acquired
You will be advised to stay at home and be given guidance on limiting face-to-face contact. The letter the NHS send to you will have contact numbers you can call if you live alone and do not have a support network to help you with food and other supplies.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has also published updated guidance for pregnant women, which you can find here.
I’m feeling anxious about coronavirus
It’s completely understandable to be worried about the impact coronavirus may have on you or those you care about. Try to stay calm and follow the official advice from the Government. The charity Mind has information you might find helpful.
- GOV.UK: coronavirus action plan
- GOV.UK: information on coronavirus and the situation in the UK
- NHS England: coronavirus for health professionals
- Doctors of the World: advice in other languages