Help prevent the spread and find out more about the virus.

Everyone should do what they can to stop Coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading.

What is social distancing and why is it important?

Anyone can spread the virus so the government have asked everyone to stay at home. This is social distancing. You should only leave the house for one of four reasons:

  • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
  • one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household.
  • any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
  • travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.

If you have to go out stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people and wash your hands as soon as you get home

Social distancing makes it harder for the virus to travel from person to person, and will help stop more people getting the virus. This will help the NHS and other services support people who are sick.

It is particularly important for people who:

  • are 70 or over
  • have a long-term condition
  • are pregnant
  • have a weakened immune system

For all of us, we need to minimise our face to face social contact and to keep 2 metres apart from other people outside of the home. At present, we can still take exercise close to home but we need to keep to the social distancing rules.

By following guidance on hand washing, self-isolation and self-distancing we can help keep the number of new cases below the level that the healthcare system can cope with.

View guides to social distancing in other languages.

Covid-19 information to help migrants, and those supporting them.

Symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19 are:

  • a cough
  • a high temperature (37.8 degrees or higher)
  • shortness of breath

But these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness.


  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • avoid close contact with people who have symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • only travel on public transport if you need to
  • work from home, if you can
  • avoid social activities, such as going to pubs, restaurants, theatres and cinemas
  • avoid events with large groups of people
  • use phone, online services, or apps to contact your GP surgery or other NHS services


  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
  • do not have visitors to your home, including friends and family

The NHS will contact you if you are at particularly high risk of getting seriously ill with Coronavirus (COVID-19). You'll be given specific advice about what to do.

Do not contact your GP or healthcare team at this stage – wait to be contacted.

Stay at home if you have the symptoms of coronavirus

Stay at home for 7 days if you have either:

  • a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  • a new, continuous cough – this means you've started coughing repeatedly

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.

Testing for Coronavirus (COVID-19) is not needed if you're staying at home.

Read NHS advice about staying at home.

How long do I need to stay at home for?

  • if you have symptoms, stay at home for 7 days
  • if you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms

If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.

If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.

Read NHS advice about staying at home.