The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:
- new continuous cough and/or
- high temperature
For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild infection
- if you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started. (See Ending Isolation section below for more information)
- this action will help protect others in your community whilst you are infectious.
- plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home.
- ask your employer, friends and family to help you to get the things you need to stay at home.
- stay at least 2 metres (about 3 steps) away from other people in your home whenever possible.
- sleep alone, if that is possible.
- wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water.
- stay away from vulnerable individuals such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions as much as possible.
- you do not need to call NHS111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.
Who this guidance is for
This advice is intended for people with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), including those with a diagnosis of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, who must remain at home until they are well.
Will I be tested if I think I have COVID-19
We will not be testing those self-isolating with mild symptoms. The following advice is designed to help people prevent the spread.
Why has the advice on self-isolation changed from 14 days to 7 days
The 14 day period is for those who have had exposure to a confirmed case but have not shown symptoms. The 14 days represents the potential incubation period (the time it takes for symptoms to show if you have been infected).
Most people will no longer be likely to transmit the virus 7 days after the onset of symptoms. You do not need to call NHS111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms persist past 7 days you should contact NHS 111 online at 111.nhs.uk. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111.
Why staying at home is very important
It is very important that you stay at home whilst you have coronavirus (COVID-19). This will help to protect your friends, colleagues and the wider community and will help control the spread of the virus.
We realise that staying at home may be difficult or frustrating, but there are things that you can do to help make it easier. These include:
- Plan ahead and think about what you will need in order to be able to stay at home for the full 7 days.
- Talk to your employer, friends and family to ask for their help to access the things you will need in order to successfully stay at home.
- Think about and plan how you can get access to food and other supplies such as medications that you will need during this period.
- Ask friends or family to drop off anything you need or order supplies online, but make sure these are left outside your home for you to collect.
- Make sure that you keep in touch with friends and family over the phone or through social media.
- Think about things you can do during your time at home. People who have successfully completed a period of staying at home have kept themselves busy with activities such as cooking, reading, online learning and watching films.
- When you are feeling better, remember that physical exercise can be good for your wellbeing. Look for online classes or courses that can help you take light exercise in your home.