Coronavirus (COVID-19) NHS Guidance
Updated 24th Feb 2022 - 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 take a lateral flow test.
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.
Do I 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:
- You should stay home and avoid contact with other people if you have any symptoms of COVID-19.
- You should take a lateral flow or PCR test if you have symptoms of COVID-19.
- You should stay home if you have tested positive for COVID-19.
If you do have COVID-19 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 or are unvaccinated.
- Wear a face covering while you're in shared spaces in your home.
- Cover your mouth with disposable tissues when you cough or sneeze.
- Wash your hands after coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose.
- Use a separate bathroom (if you can) from the other people in your household.
- Clean surfaces regularly.
It's recommended you stay at home until you're no longer infectious, this could be up to 10 days. You can do lateral flows from five days after your symptoms started (or the day you had the test if you do not have symptoms), and another the next day. If both are negative you can leave home.
If your result is positive you can carry on doing rapid lateral flow tests every day until you get two negative results in a row.
While it's recommended you stay at home until you're no longer infectious. But if you do need to go out:
- Wear a well-fitted face covering.
- Avoid close contact with anyone you know who might be at high risk of becoming very poorly with COVID-19, e.g. the elderly, people with long-term health conditions or people who are unvaccinated.
- Avoid crowded places and social gatherings.
- Limit close contact with people.
- Try and stick to outside exercise where you won't have contact with other people.
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