Information on coronavirus

Read the latest advice and information from the Government and Public Health England about the coronavirus.

Updated 17 January 2022

For the most up to date information about Covid-19 be sure to check gov.uk/coronavirus

New rules in response to Omicron variant

  • You must wear a face covering in shops and on public transport. Face coverings must also be worn in communal areas of secondary schools, colleges and universities.
  • Office workers who can work from home should do so.
  • Certain venues and events will be required by law to check that all visitors aged 18 years or over are fully vaccinated, have proof of a negative test in the last 48 hours, or have an exemption.
  • From Tuesday 11 January, people who receive a positive lateral flow device (LFD) test result for coronavirus should self-isolate immediately but won’t be required to take a confirmatory PCR test if they don't have symptoms. This is a temporary measure while cases remain high. You should still report your test result on the Government website.
  • Anyone who develops 1 of the 3 main Covid-19 symptoms should stay at home and self-isolate and take a PCR test. 
  • From 17 January 2022 people will be able to leave isolation after negative lateral flow tests on days five and six. 

How long to self-isolate

If you think you might have coronavirus

Symptoms

  • A high temperature

  • A new, continuous cough
  • Loss or change in sense of smell or taste

Most people with symptoms have at least one of these.

Many people with Covid-19 do not have symptoms but can still infect others. This is why everyone is advised to get tested regularly.

Find out about regular rapid Covid-19 tests

What to do if you have these symptoms

  1. Get a PCR test to check if you have Covid-19. 
  2. You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test result.

Find out more and order a PCR test

Get help from NHS 111 if:

  • You are worried about your symptoms
  • You are not sure what to do

Use NHS 111 online

How to self isolate if you or someone in your house has coronavirus

Stay at home and self-isolate.

  • Do not go to work, school, or public areas
  • Do not use public transport or taxis
  • Do not go out to get food and medicine – order it online or by phone, or ask someone to bring it to your home

  • Do not have visitors in your home, including friends and family – except for people providing essential care

  • Do not go out to exercise – exercise at home or in your garden, if you have one

The self-isolation period

The day symptoms begin or you test positive for Covid is day zero. The next day is day one of your isolation period.

The self-isolation period is 10 full days but you can leave it after 5 full days by: 

  • Taking your first lateral flow test on day five. If it is negative, you can take another test 24 hours later on day six.
  • If your second test is also negative you can immediately leave isolation.

For more information about when to self isolate visit the NHS website.

In England from 16 August 2021, if you’re fully vaccinated or under 18, you will not need to self-isolate following close contact with someone who has Covid-19. 

When you do and don't need to self-isolate

Stay at home guidance for people with suspected or confirmed Covid-19

Stay at home guidance for contacts of people with confirmed Covid-19 

How to avoid catching or spreading germs

Do:

  • 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 straight away.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.

  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

Don't:

  • Touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.

Face coverings - when to wear one

The Government has introduced new rules for face coverings in response to the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

Face coverings are now required on all public transport and in shops, as well as other settings such as banks, post offices and hairdressers, unless you are exempt.   

Face coverings should also be worn in communal areas of universities, colleges and schools by staff, visitors and pupils or students in Year 7 and above.

Find out more about when to wear a face covering and who is exempt

Easy read information on coronavirus

Information from Mencap
Getting help from the NHS during coronavirus - easy read
Rapid Covid-19 tests - easy read

Getting tested for coronavirus (Covid-19)

Guidance on coronavirus testing, including who is eligible for a test, how to get tested and the different types of test available is available on the Government's website.

Find out more

Information for children and young people

The Children's Commissioner has created a guide which aims to answer children’s questions about coronavirus, telling children how to stay safe and protect other people.

Read more

The Association for Young People's Health has created a Covid-19 information page aimed at young people, and those who care for them, on how to look after themselves and others and how to access more support.

Find out more

Further information

NHS England has produced a list of common questions about coronavirus, covering advice for you and your family, how it's caught and spread, prevention, self-isolation, testing and treatment and foreign travel. 

Common questions

Other places for information:

Staying safe during the coronavirus outbreak - in 8 languages

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