Coronavirus (COVID-19) NHS Guidance
Updated 17th August 2021 - for the most up to date coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance and information, please visit the NHS or government’s dedicated pages. This advice may differ in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
COVID-19 is an illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus.
If you have coronavirus symptoms, you should get a PCR test as soon as possible and self-isolate until you get the result.
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you're staying at home.
When you need to self-isolate
The self-isolating guidance varies on your age, vaccination status and where you live. In England, please follow the below advice:
- If you’re displaying symptoms you should complete a PCR test as soon as possible and self-isolate until the test comes back.
- If your result is negative, you don’t need to self-isolate
- If the test is positive or unclear you should self-isolate for 10 days from the day of onset of the symptoms
- If you don’t have symptoms and test positive, you should continue to self-isolate for 10 days
- If you live with (or are in a support bubble with) someone who has tested positive or had an unclear result you should self-isolate unless you are fully vaccinated (having received the second vaccine dose at least 14 days previously), or under the age of 18 years and 6 months old
If you are self-isolating at home you should
- try to keep at least 2 metres (3 steps) from other people in your home, particularly older people or those with long-term health conditions
- ask friends and family and delivery services to deliver things like food shopping and medicines – but avoid contact with them
- sleep alone if possible
- regularly wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
- try to stay away from older people and those with long-term health conditions
- drink plenty of water and take everyday painkillers, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, to help with your symptoms
Only use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:
- you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
- your condition gets worse
- your symptoms do not get better after 7 days