Coronavirus: stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives

The Government has published very clear guidance today about staying at home. This includes versions in a variety of languages and a large print version. Find more at


Stay at home

The single most important action you can take is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives.

You should only leave the house for very limited reasons:

  • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, as infrequently 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, including to donate blood, avoid risk of harm, provide care or help a vulnerable person

  • travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home

These are exceptions – and when doing these activities, you should minimise time spent outside of the home and ensure you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household.

Critical workers, and parents of vulnerable children, may leave the house to take their children to and from school or their childcare provider. More detail is available online. Children can be moved between homes if their parents live separately.

Help stop the infection spreading and support each other:

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds

  • 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

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

  • clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects in your home, such as door handles and taps

  • shop responsibly, follow advice in stores, and only buy what you need for yourself and your family, and those you’re supporting




You may have coronavirus if you have either of the following symptoms, however mild:

  • a high temperature

  • a new, continuous cough

Anyone who has these symptoms must stay at home until the symptoms have ended, and in all cases for at least 7 days. Everyone else in the household must stay at home for at least 14 days after the first person’s symptoms appear, even if they themselves do not have symptoms. If anyone else develops symptoms during that time, that individual must stay home for an additional 7 days from when they developed symptoms. Once 7 days have passed and provided symptoms have ended, they no longer need to isolate.

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

Use NHS online services. Only call 111 if you are not able to get online, you have been instructed to call, or your symptoms worsen.

Call 999 if you have a serious or life-threatening emergency, and tell the call adviser if you have coronavirus symptoms.

An example of household isolation

Person A develops symptoms, triggering 7-day isolation for herself and 14 days for her household.

Isolation ends for Person A after 7 days if symptoms have stopped.

From the time Person A first develops symptoms:

  • Person B develops symptoms on day 3 and starts 7-day count

  • isolation ends for Person B if symptoms have stopped after day 9

  • Person C develops no symptoms; isolation ends after 14 days

  • Person D develops symptoms on day 13. They start the 7-day count from this day

  • isolation ends for Person D if symptoms have stopped after day 19

Advice for those who are 70 and over, have an underlying health condition or are pregnant

People who are 70 and over, or those who have an underlying health condition, are likely to be more seriously affected. It is even more important that you protect yourself now by following the advice above.

If you are at very high risk due to a serious underlying health condition, you should have already received a letter from the NHS containing specific guidance about what to do.

If you need shopping or medication, ask family, friends or neighbours to drop these at the door, or if possible, order online. Use NHS online services or the NHS App to book appointments or order repeat prescriptions – only phone if this is not possible.

GP consultations should be done over the phone or online, to minimise risk to you and other patients. GP practices may postpone non-urgent health checks or routine appointments.

There is helpful information and advice for pregnant women about coronavirus on the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ website.

Support for businesses and workers

The government knows that all these measures have a huge impact on businesses, households and people across the country and has taken action to protect lives and incomes.

For businesses:

  • more than £330 billion is being made available in loans and guarantees

  • another £20 billion is being given to businesses through tax relief and cash grants

  • HMRC is deferring VAT payments for the next quarter

For workers and families:

  • the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme means employees can receive 80% of their wages up to a maximum of £2,500 per month

  • the Coronavirus Self Employment Income Support Scheme will provide a grant to most self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month

  • extra support for the unemployed and those on low incomes through Universal Credit and Tax Credits, worth up to £1,040

  • nearly £1 billion of additional support for renters

  • mortgage holidays of three months for anyone in difficulty due to coronavirus, including owners of buy to let properties

This is just some of the support available for businesses and workers. Further information is available at

Going to work

You may travel for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home.

Employers and employees should discuss their working arrangements, and employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home.

Certain jobs require people to travel to their place of work.

If you cannot work from home then you can still travel to work, provided neither you nor any of your household have coronavirus symptoms. This is consistent with advice from the Chief Medical Officer.

Further information on all these areas and more is available:

Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.


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