Coronavirus: National information and guidance
As it's a new illness, it’s not currently known exactly how coronavirus spreads between people, but similar viruses tend to be spread through cough or sneeze droplets.
As of 10 May, the Government suggests that we can all help to control the spread of coronavirus, if we stay alert. This means we must:
- Stay at home as much as possible
- Work from home, if we can
- Limit contact with other people
- Keep our distance when we got out (stay 2 metres apart, where possible)
- Keep washing our hands regularly
If you're not sure about what you can and can't do, please take a look at the Government's coronavirus outbreak frequently asked questions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are:
A high temperature, which means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you don't need to take your temperature)
A new continuous cough, so if you've been coughing a lot for more than an hour or had three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than normal)
- A loss of, or change in, your normal sense of smell or taste
The Government advise anyone experiencing any of these symptoms to self-isolate at home for 7 days. This means you do not leave your home for any reason. If you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days, to avoid spreading the infection outside the home. When you finish self-isolating, you will still need to observe the Government's guidance.
Do not go to your GP, local pharmacy or hospital.
If you or someone you live with, currently have any of the above symptoms of coronavirus / COVID-19, you can ask for a test to check if you have the virus. The test needs to be taken within the first 5 days of having symptoms, so it's best to ask for the test in the first 3 days, as it may take a day or two to arrange.
To find out more and ask for a test, visit the NHS website.
Please note: Testing is not suitable for children under five years old.
If you're at home with suspected coronavirus symptoms, you can receive daily text message support from the NHS. Simply contact the NHS 111 dedicated online coronavirus service and register your symptoms and contact details.
If your symptoms get worse or if they haven’t got better after 7 days, contact NHS 111 using the online coronavirus service.
To keep up to date with the latest stay at home / self-isolation guidance, visit the Government’s website and the NHS website.
There are a number of simple, yet effective things we can all do to help reduce the risk of catching COVID-19 or transmitting the virus to other people. This is particularly important for people in higher risk groups, such as if you’re aged 70 or over, have a long term condition or weakened immune system or you’re pregnant.
Handwashing and hygiene
- Regularly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Always wash your hands when you get home / into work and when you’re preparing food
- Use a hand sanitiser, if there’s no soap and water available
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or the crook of your elbow, not your hands, when you cough or sneeze
- Immediately put all used tissues into the bin and wash your hands afterwards
- Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth, especially if your hands aren’t clean
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces (door handles, keyboards etc)
- Always remain two metres apart from anyone outside of your own household, if you do have to leave the house
- Avoid close contact with anyone who may have symptoms of coronavirus
- Don’t have visitors in your home, including family and friends
- Contact NHS services, including your GP practice, via phone, online services or available apps
If you or someone you live with has symptoms of coronavirus, you can get an isolation note for your employer, to prove that you need to stay off work. You do not need to visit your GP for a note.
To find out more, including the criteria you need to meet, visit the NHS website.
The Department for Work and Pensions has issued advice on Statutory Sick Pay for those who are unable to work due to coronavirus. There's also information available for those already claiming benefits.
To find out more, visit the Understanding Universal Credit website.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office advise against all non-essential travel worldwide. If you have existing travel plans, they should be changed or cancelled and if you're currently travelling abroad, it's recommended that you return to the UK, as soon as possible.
If your travel is essential, please take a look at the latest information on the Government’s website.
It’s acknowledged that social distancing or staying at home for prolonged periods of time can be difficult, boring, frustrating and lonely for some people. It can affect your mental wellbeing, leaving you feeling low, anxious, worried or perhaps having problems sleeping.
There are a few simple things you can do to help you stay mentally and physically active during this time, including:
- Stay in touch with family and friends on the phone or online
- Spend time doing things you enjoy, such as cooking, reading, watching films or listening to music. You might also want to take the opportunity to learn a new skill via an online learning course or re-connect with a hobby you love, like drawing or yoga
- Try to find exercises you can do at home or in the garden. There’s a range of fantastic ideas for all the family on our staying at home page
- Make sure you eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink plenty of water and avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs
- Keep your windows open to let in fresh air and get as much natural sunlight as you can, even just out in the garden. You can still go out for a walk, just remember to stay more than 2 metres away from people
Don’t forget to look out for older and more vulnerable family members and neighbours, who may need some additional help and support during this time, especially with things like shopping.
Local mental health support
Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust offer a 24 hour mental health telephone support service in Herefordshire, simply call 01905 681915. There's also a range of useful self help guides available on the Let's Talk website.
National mental health support
Elefriends is a supportive and safe online community run by Mind, where you can share mental health experiences and listen to others.
Every Mind Matters can help you look after your mental health, including creating your own Mind Plan to help you feel more in control, deal with stress and anxiety and boost your mood.
Mind offer information, advice and support to anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They also provide a telephone helpline on 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm).
Samaritans provide support, information and someone to talk to 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 116 123.
If you have a specific medical condition or a long term health problem, such as autism, cancer or dementia or you’re a carer for someone else, a number of national organisations have published coronavirus-related information, which you may find helpful.
Don’t forget…If you have a medical condition, which could make you more vulnerable to coronavirus, you can register with the Government. This can help you receive additional support, such as the delivery of essential supplies.
If you’re facing a drop in income or you’ve lost your job due to the ongoing coronavirus situation, there’s a number of organisations which can help with information, advice or affordable low cost loans. It’s important to avoid loan sharks and illegal money lenders.
There’s been reports of people being targeted through a range of different coronavirus-related scams, particularly those who are older, potentially more vulnerable or isolated from family and friends. Everyone is reminded to remain vigilant and there’s more information available from the following trusted organisations.
Free school meal vouchers
The Government is providing weekly supermarket vouchers worth £15, for families that normally qualify for benefits-related free school meals. These will be arranged by your school and sent to you every week.
Priority shopping hours
NHS / Care workers: Monday, Wednesday and Friday 8am to 9am and Sunday browsing hour before checkouts open
NHS / Care workers: Monday to Saturday 8am to 9am and Sunday 10am to 11am
Elderly / Vulnerable: Monday to Saturday 8am to 9am and Sunday 10am to 11am
NHS / Care workers: Every day final hour of trading
NHS / Care workers: Tuesday and Friday first hour of trading
Elderly / Vulnerable: Monday and Thursday first hour of trading
NHS / Care workers: Monday to Saturday 6am to 7am and Sunday 9am to 9:30am
Elderly / Vulnerable: Use the online Doorstep Deliveries service if you live within 10 miles of a store. Call 0345 611 6111 and select option 5
NHS / Care workers: Monday to Saturday 7:30am to 8am
Elderly / Vulnerable: Monday, Wednesday and Friday 8am to 9am
Tesco (excluding Express stores)
NHS / Care workers: Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday 9am to 10am
Elderly / Vulnerable: Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9am to 10am
NHS / Care workers: Priority store and checkout access
Elderly / Vulnerable: Every day first hour of trading
Volunteer Shopping Cards
These shopping / gift cards can make it easier for family, friends or volunteers to pick up essential items for people who prefer to stay at home, during the coronavirus situation.
This page was last updated on 21 May 2020 (3:55pm)