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COVID-19: What measures should I be following?

[Updated: 09/11/20]

The advice about what people should be doing to minimise their risk of infection and prevent the spread of COVID-19 is continually changing. The advice differs depending on your individual circumstances and the area you live in.

The advice varies across the UK because of local restrictions due to differences in the number of active cases of COVID-19, hospital capacity, and the COVID-19 reproduction rate (number of people infected by someone with COVID-19).

You can check the advice in your area by clicking on the link to the government advice in your country below, or by using a trusted a postcode checker like this one by the BBC.

Important

Regardless of where you live or the measures you are following you should contact your healthcare team as soon as possible if you develop new or worsening:

  • Symptoms of COVID-19
  • Symptoms of any other infection
  • Symptoms of myeloma
  • Side effects of treatment

For advice on what to do over the Christmas holidays, please see our COVID-19 Christmas Guidelines guidance.

England

[Updated: 02/12/20]

England is using a tiered system of local COVID alert levels to set the measures you should be following. These measures vary by local area. You can find out what level your local area is in on the UK Government website.

If you were previously asked to shield, you should follow the additional guidance set out in the government guidelines for clinically extremely vulnerable people. These guidelines will vary depending on the local COVID alert level in your area.

For full details of the local COVID alert level restrictions (including information on local businesses and amenities, events such as weddings and funerals, schools and universities), see the UK Government website.

Local COVID alert level: medium (tier 1)

General measures:

  • You must not socialise in groups larger than 6 indoors or outdoors
  • You must follow social distancing rules
  • You must wear a face covering in public places
  • Work from home where possible
  • Plan ahead when travelling and try to avoid busy times and routes, walk or cycle if you can

For clinically extremely vulnerable people, in addition to the general measures:

  • Strictly maintain social distancing and hand washing
  • Meet outside if possible
  • Keep the number of different people you meet low
  • Limit journeys on public transport where possible
  • Visit shops or pharmacies at quieter times of the day

Local COVID alert level: high (tier 2)

General measures, in addition to those in medium alert level areas:

  • You must not socialise with anyone outside of your household or support bubble in any indoor setting (either within a home or in a public place)
  • You must not socialise in a group of more than 6 people outside
  • You must wear a face covering in public places
  • Work from home where possible
  • Plan ahead when travelling and try to avoid busy times and routes, walk or cycle if you can

For clinically extremely vulnerable people, in addition to the general measures:

  • Keep the number of different people you meet low
  • Minimise travel. If you must travel walk or cycle if you can, or use a private car with your own household or bubble
  • Consider using online delivery slots for food shopping or ask friends and family to deliver shopping and medicines

Local COVID alert level: very high (tier 3)

General measures will vary so you should check the specific rules in your area. At a minimum, measures include:

  • You must not socialise with anyone outside of your household or support bubble indoors, in private gardens or at most outdoor hospitality venues
  • You must not socialise in a group of more than 6 people in an outdoor public space
  • Avoid travelling into or out of very high alert level alert areas, unless you have caring responsibilities or you are travelling through as part of a longer journey
  • Avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if you live in a very high COVID alert level area
  • Avoid staying overnight in a very high COVID alert level area if you live in another part of the UK

For clinically extremely vulnerable people, in addition to the general measures:

  • You are advised to stay at home as much as possible, except for exercise
  • Avoid travelling into or out of a local very high COVID alert level area
  • You may want to socially distance within your own household if practical
  • You should work from home. If this is not possible, speak to your employer about changing your role or working pattern temporarily to reduce your risk (e.g. to avoid travelling in rush hour)
  • You should significantly reduce your shopping trips. It is advised you use online shopping or have people in your household or support bubble deliver food and medicines to you

Shielding

Shielding is currently paused. You should strictly follow the guidance set out for the general population in England.  You will only be advised to return to formal shielding measures under exceptional circumstances and if you are in a very high COVID alert level area. You will receive a letter from the government advising you to shield if this applies to you. The letter will also set out how you can access additional support whilst shielding.

You can read the government advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people here.

Self-isolation

Self-isolating means staying at home to prevent the spread of infection. It should be followed when you have COVID-19, have symptoms, or have been in contact with someone with symptoms and pose an infection risk to others.

Find out what you should and shouldn’t do while self-isolating by reading full the guidance here.

If you are self-isolating because you have COVID-19 symptoms you should book a test through the GOV.UK website or by calling 119 if you have no internet access.

If you have any planned medical appointments contact your healthcare team for advice to ensure you get the necessary medical care.

Important
Patients on treatment or recovering from HDT-SCT who have COVID-19 symptoms (especially fever) should contact their healthcare team.

Scotland

[Updated: 30/10/20]

Scotland is using a five-tiered system of local protection levels to set the measures you should be following. These measures vary by local area. To find out what level applies to your local area use the Scottish Government website or a trusted postcode checker like this one from the BBC.

If you were previously asked to shield, you should follow the additional guidance set out in the government guidelines for clinically extremely vulnerable people. These guidelines will vary depending on the local COVID alert level in your area.

For full details of the local COVID alert level restrictions (including information on local businesses and amenities, events such as weddings and funerals, schools and universities), see the Scottish Government website.

COVID protection level 0

General measures:

  • You must not socialise in groups larger than 8 indoors or 15 outdoors
  • You must follow social distancing rules
  • You must wear a face covering in public places
  • Work from home where possible
  • Plan ahead when travelling and try to avoid busy times and routes, walk or cycle if you can
  • You must not travel to or from level 3 or higher areas in Scotland and equivalents in rest of UK, except for essential purposes

Additional advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people

  • Follow the level advice to the general population for contact with others, shopping, and childcare/school
  • If you can’t work from home, following a workplace risk assessment, your employer should make the necessary adjustments to your workplace to protect you

COVID protection level 1

General measures:

  • You must not socialise with other households in your own home
  • You must not socialise in groups larger than 6 outdoors or in indoor public spaces
  • You must follow social distancing rules
  • You must wear a face covering in public places
  • Work from home where possible
  • Plan ahead when travelling and try to avoid busy times and routes, walk or cycle if you can
  • You must not travel to or from level 3 or higher areas in Scotland and equivalents in rest of UK, except for essential purposes

Additional advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people

  • Follow the level advice to the general population for contact with others, shopping, and childcare/school
  • If you can’t work from home, following a workplace risk assessment, your employer should make the necessary adjustments to your workplace to protect you

COVID protection level 2

General measures:

  • You must not socialise with other households in your own home
  • You must not socialise in groups larger than 6 outdoors or in indoor public spaces
  • You must follow social distancing rules
  • You must wear a face covering in public places
  • Work from home where possible
  • Plan ahead when travelling and try to avoid busy times and routes, walk or cycle if you can
  • You must not travel to or from level 3 or higher areas in Scotland and equivalents in the rest of the UK, except for essential purposes

Additional advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people

  • Reduce the number of people of households you have face to face contact with
  • Avoid one metre zones
  • If you can’t work from home, following a workplace risk assessment, your employer should make the necessary adjustments to your workplace to protect you. If your workplace can’t be made safe, you can discuss whether you need a fit note with your GP or consultant

COVID protection level 3

General measures:

  • You must not socialise with other households in your own home
  • You must not socialise in groups larger than 6 outdoors or in indoor public spaces
  • You must follow social distancing rules
  • You must wear a face covering in public places
  • Work from home where possible
  • You must not use public transport for non-essential travel
  • You must not travel into or out of the level 3 area, except for essential purposes

Additional advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people

  • Limit the number of people outside your own household you meet with
  • Avoid indoor public spaces
  • Strictly follow the guidelines when shopping and limit the number of times you go to a shop
  • Shop at quieter times
  • If you can’t work from home speak to your employer to ensure all appropriate protections are in place. Where you have a concern, you should discuss this with your employer. If your workplace can’t be made safe, you can discuss whether you need a fit note with your GP or consultant

COVID protection level 4

  • You must not socialise with other households in your own home
  • You must not socialise in groups larger than 6 in indoor public spaces or outdoors
  • You must follow social distancing rules
  • You must wear a face covering in public places
  • Work from home where possible
  • You must not use public transport for non-essential travel
  • You must not travel into or out of the level 4 area, except for essential purposes

Additional advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people

  • Minimise the number of people outside your own household you meet with
  • Avoid indoor public spaces
  • Do not use public transport
  • Strictly follow the guidelines when shopping and limit the number of times you go to a shop
  • Shop at quieter times
  • If you can’t work from home speak to your employer to ensure all appropriate protections are in place. Where you have a concern, you should discuss this with your employer. If your workplace can’t be made safe, the Chief Medical Officer will issue a letter which is similar to a fit note and which will last for as long as your area is under level 4 restrictions

Shielding

Shielding has been paused since August 2020. Clinically extremely vulnerable people who were previously asked to shield should follow the same guidance as the general population in Scotland. To stay safe, you should strictly follow two metre physical distancing and handwashing measures. Remember, to also wear a face covering in shops, inside hospitality settings and on public transport if you are able to.

You can read the government advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people here.

Self-isolation

Self-isolation means staying at home to prevent the spread of infection. It is recommended when you have COVID-19, have symptoms or have been in contact with someone with symptoms and pose an infection risk to others.

Find out what you should and shouldn’t do while self-isolating by reading the full guidance here.

If you are self-isolating because you have COVID-19 symptoms you should book a test at GOV.UK website or by calling the coronavirus helpline (0800 028 2816) if you can’t access the test form online or need help to complete it.

If you have any planned medical appointments contact your healthcare team for advice to ensure you get the necessary medical care.

Who should be self-isolating?

Recommended for people with COVID-19 symptoms or those who have been in contact with someone with symptoms.

Important

Patients on treatment or recovering from HDT-SCT who have COVID-19 symptoms (especially fever) should contact their healthcare team.

Wales

Updated: 09/11/20

Wales has national guidance outlining the measures you should be following to reduce levels of COVID-19. The current restrictions were introduced on 9 November 2020.

General measures include:

  • You must not socialise with people you do not live with in your own home or private garden unless they are part of your extended household
  • You must not socialise in groups larger than 4 in indoor public spaces
  • You must follow social distancing rules
  • You must wear a face covering in public places
  • Work from home where possible

Additional advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people:

  • Minimise the number of people you meet with outside your own household
  • Strictly follow the guidelines when shopping and limit the number of times you go to a shop. Shop online where possible
  • Avoid public transport where you can
  • If you can’t work from home, following a workplace risk assessment, your employer should make the necessary adjustments to your workplace to protect you. Discuss start and finish times to help you avoid using public transport at peak times.

You can read the full guidance for Wales on the Welsh Government website.

Shielding

Shielding has been paused since August 2020. Clinically extremely vulnerable people who were previously asked to shield should follow the same guidance as the general population in Wales. The Welsh Government will not ask people to shield again unless it is absolutely necessary.

You can read the government advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people here.

Self-isolation

Self-isolation means staying at home to prevent the spread of infection. It is recommended when you have COVID-19, have symptoms or have been in contact with someone with symptoms and pose an infection risk to others.

Find out what you should and shouldn’t do while self-isolating by reading the full guidance here.

If you are self-isolating because you have COVID-19 symptoms you should book a test through the GOV.UK website or by calling 119 if you have no internet access.

If you have any planned medical appointments contact your healthcare team for advice to ensure you get the necessary medical care.

Who should be self-isolating?

Recommended for people with COVID-19 symptoms or those who have been in contact with someone with symptoms.

Important

Patients on treatment or recovering from HDT-SCT who have COVID-19 symptoms (especially fever) should contact their healthcare team.

Northern Ireland

[Updated: 30/10/20]

Northern Ireland has national guidance outlining the measures you should be following to reduce levels of COVID-19. The current restrictions were introduced on 16 October 2020 and will be reviewed after four weeks.

General measures include:

  • You must not socialise with other households in your own home
  • You must not socialise in groups larger than 6 in indoor public spaces and private gardens or 15 in outdoor public spaces
  • Bubbles between two households are limited to a maximum of 10 people
  • You must follow social distancing rules
  • You must wear a face covering in public places
  • Work from home where possible
  • You must only travel for essential purposes

Additional advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people:

  • Limit the number of people outside your own household you meet with
  • Strictly follow the social distancing guidelines in public spaces
  • Shop at quiet times or ask others to shop for you

You can read the full guidance for Northern Ireland on the Northern Irish Government website.

Shielding

Shielding has been paused since 31 July 2020. Clinically extremely vulnerable people who were previously asked to shield should follow the same guidance as the general population in Northern Ireland. The Northern Irish Government is continually reviewing the shielding status.

You can read the government advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people here.

Self-isolation

Self-isolation means staying at home to prevent the spread of infection. It is recommended when you have COVID-19, have symptoms or have been in contact with someone with symptoms and pose an infection risk to others.

Find out what you should and shouldn’t do while self-isolating by reading the full guidance here.

If you are self-isolating because you have COVID-19 symptoms you should book a test through the GOV.UK website or by calling 119 if you have no internet access.

If you have any planned medical appointments contact your healthcare team for advice to ensure you get the necessary medical care.

Who should be self-isolating?

Recommended for people with COVID-19 symptoms or those who have been in contact with someone with symptoms.

Important

Patients on treatment or recovering from HDT-SCT who have COVID-19 symptoms (especially fever) should contact their healthcare team.