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The latest official government advice on COVID-19

Last night the government updated advice on the coronavirus situation in the UK. Here is what you need to know.

Anyone who has a new and persistent cough or a high temperature is being asked to self-isolate at home for seven days. It’s possible that these are mild symptoms of coronavirus and you do not need to ring 111 for advice unless your condition dramatically worsens.

Testing for COVID-19 is no longer happening for people in isolation, only in hospitals.

Schools have been advised to cancel planned trips abroad, and people aged over 70 and those with pre-existing health conditions have been told not to go on cruises.

The future

Government advisors are working on the assumption that the peak of infection might not arrive in Britain for up to three months’ time.

It’s thought that stricter self-isolation guidelines could come into place soon, such as if one household member becomes ill, everyone living with them may be asked to stay home for 14 days.

It’s also thought that more social contact advice will come into play as the epidemic reaches its peak, with the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions told to stay at home and cut social contact for protection.

How to self-isolate

Public Health England has given the following advice for anyone who needs to self-isolate

  • 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 two 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