Coronavirus advice

If you think you have symptoms

  • Stay at home for 7 days if you have either:
    • A high temperature (37.8 degrees or higher)
    • A new continuous cough
  • If you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms. This will help to protect others in your community while you are infectious
  • If anyone else in the household develops symptoms during the 14 day period, they should isolate for a minimum of 7 days regardless of how far through the 14 day period the symptoms start.
  • If you can, move any vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period. If you cannot move vulnerable people out of your home, stay away from them as much as possible.
  • Do not go to the GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital
  • You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you’re staying at home
  • Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you are staying at home

Staying at home guidance is available in different languages as well as an easy read version (PDF 1,445KB).

If you or your family need to seek medical advice

  • If you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after 7 days they use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111.
  • If it is an emergency and you need to call an ambulance, dial 999 and inform the call handler or operator that you or your relative have coronavirus symptoms.


Public information

The main advice from the NHS and Public Health England for the public is:

  • To wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds using soap and hot water, particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose, or after being in public areas, where other people are doing so. Use hand sanitiser if that’s all you have access to.
  • To reduce the spread of germs when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or your sleeve (not your hands) if you don’t have a tissue, and throw the tissue away immediately. Then wash your hands or use a hand sanitising gel.
  • To clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces using your regular cleaning products to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people.
  • Measures relating to social distancing are now being developed and introduced to stop the spread of the virus. This means reducing and avoiding contact with other people.

Guidance is available in different languages as well as an easy read version (PDF 733KB) 

What does it mean if I need to self-isolate?

The advice is that you should remain in your home. Do not go to work, school, or public areas, and do not use public transport or taxis. You cannot go for a walk.

  • You should aim to be in a well-ventilated room with a window that can be opened. Try to separate yourself from other people in your home and keep the door closed. If you cannot stay in a separate room aim to keep 2 metres away from other people in your house.
  • You should use your own eating and drinking utensils, towels, washcloths or bedlinen. You should clean surfaces in toilets and bathrooms after you have used them. If you share a kitchen, avoid using it while others are present.
  • Do not have visitors in your home.
  • When cleaning, you should use your usual household products, like detergent and bleach, as these will be effective in getting rid of viruses on surfaces. Personal waste (e.g. used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths should be double bagged, tied securely, and kept separate from other waste within your own room. This should be put aside for 72 hours before being put in your usual external household waste bin.
  • Dirty laundry that has been in contact with an ill person can be washed with other people’s items. Do not shake dirty laundry.


What is social distancing?

New social distancing measures have been put in place by the government to reduce our day to day contact with other people in order to help reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). These apply to everyone, regardless of whether or not you or anyone in your household has symptoms.

The three new measures are:

  • Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes
  • Closing non-essential shops and community spaces e.g. cinemas, restaurants, pubs, theatres
  • Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public

When can I leave the house?

You should only leave the house for one of four reasons

  • shopping for basic necessities, for example, food and medicine, which must be as infrequent 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, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
  • travelling to and from work, but only where you cannot work from home.

These four reasons are exceptions - even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household.


Shielding guidance

Those at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus because of underlying health conditions, are strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid face-to-face contact for at least 12 weeks. The NHS will have been in contact with people with these conditions to provide further advice.

People falling into this extremely vulnerable group include:

  • solid organ transplant recipients
  • people with specific cancers undergoing treatments
  • people with severe respiratory conditions - cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD
  • people on immunosuppresssion therapies
  • pregnant women who have heart disease
  • people with rare diseases -SCID, homozygous sickle cell

The guidance is for people in the above groups, who live in their own home, with or without additional support, including people living in long-term care facilities for the elderly or people with special needs.

Shielding guidance is also available in different languages as well as an easy read version (PDF 1,624KB).

If you require help or support please contact the new  Coronavirus well-being service. 

You can also call the well-being service on 020 8708 5555. We are open seven days a week, 8am to 8pm.

Is shielding compulsory?

Shielding is for your personal protection. It is your choice to decide whether to follow the measures advised. Individuals who have been given a prognosis of less than 6 months to live, and some others in special circumstances, could decide not to undertake shielding. This will be a deeply personal decision. We advise calling your GP or specialist to discuss this.

What about the people I live with?

If you have someone else living with you, they are not required to adopt these protective shielding measures for themselves, but they should stringently follow guidance on social distancing, reducing their contact outside the home.

What about people who provide essential support?

Visits from people who provide essential support to you such as healthcare, personal support with your daily needs or social care should continue, but carers and care workers must stay away if they have any of the symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).

All people coming to your home should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds on arrival to your house and often while they are there.

You should have an alternative list of people who can help you with your care if your main carer becomes unwell. You can also contact your local council for advice on how to access care.

If you care for but don’t actually live with someone who is extremely vulnerable, you should still stringently follow guidance on social distancing.

What if I develop symptoms?

If you think you have developed symptoms of COVID-19 such as a new, continuous cough or fever, seek clinical advice using the NHS 111 online coronavirus service or call NHS 111. Do this as soon as you get symptoms. 

For a medical emergency dial 999.



Testing will not be offered routinely to individuals staying at home.

Patients who require overnight admission to hospital should still be tested regardless of travel history if they present with:

  • either clinical or radiological evidence of pneumonia
  • OR acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • OR influenza-like illness (fever ≥37.8°C and at least one of the following respiratory symptoms, which must be of acute onset: persistent cough (with or without sputum), hoarseness, nasal discharge or congestion, shortness of breath, sore throat, wheezing, sneezing)

Clinicians should be alert to the possibility of atypical presentations in patients who are immunocompromised.


NHS 111

Up to date information can be found on the NHS site.

We expect the health service to be exceptionally busy in the coming days and weeks. If people have serious symptoms that they cannot manage at home they should use NHS 111 online. They should only telephone NHS 111 if they cannot go online.


NHS Redbridge CCG

Information and updates relating to Coronavirus for local people can be found on the NHS Redbridge CCG website. 

Overseas travel

British nationals should avoid all non-essential overseas travel.

You can access information on coronavirus in easy read (PDF 244KB) and in British Sign Language on video.

For more information and specific questions, please see our questions and answers page


Wash your hands and protect yourself


General information for parents and families

See below advice and information for parents, families and caregivers.

Download Covid-19 parenting tips (PDF 2,160 KB) for parents and caregivers.

Visit the change4life website for meal ideas and nutritional advice. 

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