Current situation

    We'll update this page from time to time when new guidance and information becomes available.

    As the coronavirus situation develops, Health Information Radio will aim to cut through the speculation, debate and misinformation and give you the facts you need to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

     

    The government has given the British people an explicit instruction - stay home. Don’t use public transport and do not visit your GP surgery - use telephone or online services. Don’t visit family members - stay in touch by other means. You should start working from home if you possibly can. Except those selling essential food and medicine, all shops and entertainment venues are closed. You should use food delivery services where possible. 

    Gatherings in public of more than two people, where they do not live in the same household, will be dispersed by the police and you risk being fined. All social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies are prohibited, with exception for funerals.

    The only reasons you should leave your home are:

    • To shop for basic necessities, such as food, and even then go out as little as possible
    • To undertake one form of exercise a day, alone or with members of your household. This means you should not meet any trainers, or friends, unless they live with you
    • To help manage any medical need, or to help a vulnerable person
    • Or to travel to and from work, where it is essential and cannot be done from home

    In order to minimize the spread of the virus, it is absolutely essential that you take this advice seriously. Even if you feel well or experience mild symptoms, you can still pass the virus onto those who are more vulnerable. If you ignore this advice and come into contact with the virus, there is no guarantee your case will be mild, even if you are not in an at-risk group.

    If you are at risk of severe illness from COVID-19, you should pay particular attention to this advice. You are at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 if you are aged 70 or older, or are under 70 but have an underlying health condition. There is a full list of such conditions on our website, but generally speaking, if you are instructed to have a flu jab each year on medical grounds, or are pregnant, then you are considered at-risk. Some patients are considered extremely vulnerable. If NHS England believes you to be in this group, they will write to you in the next week with additional advice. You can find more information about the criteria for this group on our website, healthinforadio.co.uk.

    If you can, obtain extra medications from your pharmacy to cover any period of isolation you might need to undertake. If you have a relative in a high-risk group, you should consider staying in frequent contact with them by phone, email, text, or social media.

    Although everyone should stay at home, anyone who has a fever or a new, persistent cough is being asked to self-isolate and should not leave the house for any reason. Avoid all but essential contact with others for the entire period of your isolation. 

    You should self-isolate for seven days from the start of your symptoms. If you live with others, they should self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of how well they might feel. If, during these 14 days, anyone else in your household develops symptoms, they should self-isolate for seven days from that point, regardless of how far along in the original 14 day isolation they are.

    If you have symptoms and live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant, or has a weakened immune system, you’re strongly advised to try and find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days. If you do have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.

    You don’t need to call NHS 111 before or during an isolation unless your symptoms do not improve after 7 days. If your symptoms do not improve after 7 days, you are advised to contact NHS 111 online. If you don’t have the internet, you can call 111. 

    If you have symptoms of COVID-19, avoid all contact with vulnerable individuals, such as the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions. If you’re self-isolating, then a test for coronavirus is not needed and you should not visit your GP or hospital unless your condition worsens or you are unable to manage your symptoms.

    The government has advised all British citizens abroad to return home immediately. The recommendation against all travel remains. You shouldn’t travel internationally except in extremely limited circumstances.

    You can manage your symptoms with over-the-counter medicines, such as painkillers. There is no official advice on the use of ibuprofen, but some scientists and clinicians are advising against the use of ibuprofen if you suspect you have COVID-19. The evidence remains unclear. You may wish to use Paracetamol instead. If you are under medical instructions to take ibuprofen, you should not stop taking it without speaking to your doctor first.