What should you do about coronavirus?

Find out how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus, and what to do if you have symptoms.
Washing hands under a tap (Getty Images)

Tell the Council if someone needs help 

If you are, or you know of a vulnerable Southwark resident who can’t leave the house due to coronavirus (COVID-19), and who may not have friends, family or neighbours who can help with the delivery of essential supplies, please tell Southwark Council so they can help:

  1. Complete an online referral form 
  2. Email covidsupport@southwark.gov.uk 
  3. Phone 020 7525 5000 and choose option 3

What to do if you or someone you live with has the symptoms of coronavirus

Read the latest NHS advice

Watch out for:

  1. A high temperature - feeling hot to the touch on the chest or back. 
  2. A new, continuous cough - this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual).

Use the online NHS 111 coronavirus service to find out what to do. Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

Staying at home

These symptoms might be mild but you might still be able to infect others.

  • If you have one or both of these symptoms, you must stay at home for at least 7 days (longer if you still have a high temperature).

  • If you live with other people, then they must stay at home for at least 14 days. This is to avoid spreading the infection outside your home.
  • If the people you live with do not get symptoms after 14 days, then they can go back to their normal routine.
  • BUT if anyone in your home gets symptoms, they must stay at home for 7 days from the day their symptoms start. Even if it means they're at home for longer than 14 days.

This is called 'self isolation.'

Some people with underlying health conditions, or who are older, and therefore at increased risk from coronavirus, but who have not been told by the NHS that they are 'extremely vulnerable' - see below - have also decided for themselves to 'self isolate' for many weeks.

Guidance on what to do when someone has symptoms

If you are 'extremely vulnerable'

Some people have received letters from the NHS telling them that they are at particularly high risk if they catch coronavirus, because they have a particular underlying health condition.

These people have been advised not to leave their home even to buy supplies or for work or exercise. They should also stay at least 2 metres away from the people they live with.

If you are in this position and might have trouble getting hold of supplies, register yourself with the UK government online or let Southwark Council know

It's recommended that people in this category remain 'shielded' in this way for at least 12 weeks from receiving their letter. 

Guidance for people at high risk

Even if you do not have symptoms, you must stay at home as much as possible, and stay 'distanced' from others when you're out.

Read the latest government advice

Social distancing helps us stop catching and spreading coronavirus. It involves limiting the time we spend outside our homes and keeping at least 2 metres away from others (including friends or family we don't live with) when we are out. 

You can go out to:

  • Get essential supplies, such as food or medicine.
  • Travel to and from work, but only if your work can't be done from home.
  • Provide care or help to someone vulnerable, or take care of our own medical needs. 
  • Exercise alone, or with the people you live with.
  • Take your children to school.

From Wednesday 13 May, some of the lockdown measures are changing, which means you can:

  • Take unlimited outdoor exercise (including playing sports) alone or with people you live with.
  • Sit or sunbathe in parks.
  • Meet up with friends and family you don't live with, as long as you are outside and keep 2 metres away from each other. 

All non-essential shops and community spaces remain closed. 

  • Do not attend any gatherings, including those in private places (e.g. family homes or religious services).

  • Get any deliveries dropped off outside your front door. 
  • Keep in touch with friends and family over the phone or on social media. Use the telephone or online services to contact your GP and other services.
How far is 2 metres?

How to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus

Coronavirus is spread by the droplets that are released when people with the virus cough or sneeze, or through close contact with someone with the virus. 

The general advice to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus is to:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Do this often, and especially before eating and when you get home or into work.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.
  • Put used tissues straight in the bin and wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.
  • Use hand sanitizer gel if soap and water aren't available.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects you touch a lot, such as your phone or keyboard.
  • If you have to be in an enclosed space that is not your home, such as on a bus or train, use a face covering. The government has published guidance on how to make and wear a face mask here.
How to wash your hands thoroughly

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