Headline
Coronavirus update - new information added regularly
Date
Wed, 08 Jul 2020
Description

Insight Update

 

What is coronavirus and should I be concerned?

A coronavirus is a type of virus. As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world.

Typical symptoms of coronavirus include fever, a cough and loss of smell/taste that may progress to a severe pneumonia causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.

What are the signs and symptoms of coronavirus?

The symptoms of coronavirus (now known as COVID-19) include fever and respiratory symptoms including coughing, sneezing, and shortness of breath. For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.

You should stay at home if you have either:

  • A high temperature
  • A new continuous cough
  • Loss of smell and/or taste (Anosmia)

If you live alone, you should self-isolate for 7-days from the onset of symptoms. After 7 days if you do not have a high temperature, you do not need to continue to self-isolate. If you still have a high temperature, keep self-isolating until your temperature returns to normal. You do not need to self-isolate if you just have a cough after 7-days, as a cough can last for several weeks after the infection is gone.

If you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), then you must stay at home for 7-days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.

For anyone else in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period.

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.        

You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you are staying at home.

If you develop new coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms at any point after ending your first period of isolation (self- or household) then you need to follow the same guidance on self-isolation again.

Getting tested for coronavirus:

As part of the UK Government 5-pillar strategy for coronavirus testing, you can get a throat and nose swab test for whether you currently have coronavirus.

If you have any symptoms of coronavirus, you can ask for a test through the NHS website.

Testing for essential workers are prioritised over the tests for the wider public through the NHS.

NHS Test and Trace:

The NHS Test and Trace Service ensures that anyone who develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can quickly be tested to find out if they have the virus and helps trace close recent contacts of anyone who tests positive for coronavirus and, if necessary, notifies them that they must self-isolate at home to help stop the spread of the virus.

How NHS Test and Trace Service works: Part 1 - For someone with symptoms of coronavirus:

  1. If you have symptoms of coronavirus you must self-isolate from the onset of symptoms. You must self-isolate for at least 7-days. Anyone else in your household must self-isolate for 14-days from when you started having symptoms.
  2. Order a test immediately at nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119 if you have no internet access
  3. You will receive your results:
    • Negative result - you and other household members no longer need to self-isolate
    • Positive result - you must complete the remainder of your 7-days self-isolation. Anyone in your household must also complete self-isolation for 14-days from when you started having symptoms.
  4. Share contacts: if you test positive for coronavirus, the NHS Test and Trace service will send you a text or email alert or call you with instructions of how to share details of people with whom you have had close, recent contact and places you have visited. It is important you respond as soon as possible so that appropriate advice can be provided to those who need it. You will be told to do this online via a secure website or you will be called by one of the NHS Test and Trace Contact Tracers.

How NHS Test and Trace Service works: Part 2 - if you are identified as a close contact:

  1. You will be alerted by the NHS Test and Trace Service if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. The alert will usually come by text, email or phone call. You should then log on to the NHS Test and Trace website, which is normally the easiest way for you and the service to communicate with each other - but, if not, a trained call handler will talk you through what you must do. Under-18s will get a phone call and a parent or guardian will be asked to give permission for the call to continue.
  2. You will be told to begin self-isolation for 14-days from your last contact with the person who has tested positive. It is really important to do this even if you don't feel unwell because, if you have been infected, you could become infectious to others at any point up to 14-days. Your household does not need to self-isolate with you, if you do not have symptoms, but they must take extra care to follow the guidance on social distancing and handwashing and avoid contact with you at home.
  3. Test if needed: if you develop symptoms of coronavirus, other members of your household must self-isolate immediately for 14-days and you must book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119 if you have no internet access. If your test is positive, you must continue to stay at home for at least 7-days and the NHS Test and Trace Service will get in touch to ask about your contacts since they must self-isolate. If your test is negative, you must still complete your 14-day self-isolation period because the virus may not be detectable yet - this is crucial to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.

For more information on the NHS Test and Trace Service, see here.

Social distancing measures:

We can all help control the virus if we stay alert. This means you must:

  • Stay at home as much as possible
  • Work from home if you can
  • Limit contact with other people
  • Keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart)
  • Wash your hands regularly

In accordance with UK Government guidelines, from 4th July you can:

  • Meet in groups of up to two household (your support bubble counts as one household) in any location - public or private, indoors or outdoors. You do not always have to meet the same household. You can meet different households at different times. You must socially distance from anyone not in your household or bubble.
  • when you are outside you can continue to meet in groups of up to six people from different households, following social distancing guidelines
  • additional businesses and venues, including restaurants, pubs, cinemas, visitor attractions, hotels, and campsites will be able to open - but we will continue to keep closed certain premises where the risks of transmission may be higher
  • other public places, such as libraries, community centres, places of worship, outdoor playgrounds and outdoor gyms will be able to open
  • stay overnight away from your home with your own household or support bubble, or with members of one other household
  • It will be against the law to gather in groups larger than 30 people, except for a limited set of circumstances to be set out in law

Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.

The government has published Coronavirus outbreak FAQs to advise what you can and can't do.

What business are reopening?

From 4 July, many businesses and venues will be permitted to reopen and will be expected to follow COVID-19 Secure guidelines. These include:

  • hotels, hostels, bed and breakfast accommodation, holiday apartments or homes, cottages or bungalows, campsites, caravan parks or boarding houses
  • places of worship
  • libraries
  • community centres
  • restaurants, cafes, workplace canteens, bars, pubs that are self-contained and can be accessed from the outside
  • hair salons and barbers, including mobile businesses
  • cinemas
  • theatres and concert halls
  • funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities
  • outdoor gyms and playgrounds
  • museums and galleries
  • bingo halls
  • outdoor skating rinks
  • amusement arcades and other entertainment centres
  • model villages
  • social clubs
  • indoor attractions at aquariums, zoos, safari parks, farms, wildlife centres and any place where animals are exhibited to the public as an attraction
  • indoor and outdoor areas of visitor attractions including, gardens, heritage sites, film studios and landmarks

The following businesses must remain closed for now, as they cannot yet be made sufficiently COVID-19 secure:

  • nightclubs
  • casinos
  • bowling alleys and indoor skating rinks
  • indoor play areas including soft-play
  • spas
  • nail bars, beauty salons and tanning salons
  • massage, tattoo and piercing parlours
  • indoor fitness and dance studios, and indoor gyms and sports venues/facilities
  • swimming pools and water parks
  • exhibition or conference centres - where they are to be used for exhibitions or conferences, other than for those who work for that venue.

Shielding vulnerable people:

The government has made some changes to its guidance for people who are shielding because the transmission of COVID-19 in the community has gone down. The changes from 6th July are:

  • you no longer need to socially distance from people you live with
  • if you want to, you can meet in a group of up to 6 people outdoors, including people from other households
  • you may also form a 'support bubble' with one other household if you want to, but one of the households in the 'support bubble' should be a single adult household (either an adult living alone or with children under 18 only). You can all spend time together outside and inside each other's homes, including overnight, without needing to socially distance
  • the government support offer has been extended: you can still get a food box, care and/or medicine delivery until 31 July if you want them, and have registered online by 17 July. If you have been recently advised to shield there is more information on the page below outlining on the support available to you below
  • the latest evidence indicates that the risk of serious illness for most children and young people is low. All children and young people should continue to shield until 31 July. A clinical discussion with your paediatric specialist or GP will be needed before any child or young person is removed from the shielded patient list. Health services will be in touch with children and their families over the summer, ahead of the new school term, to discuss what the new evidence means for them personally in the longer term. Families, carers and young people do not need to make immediate contact

For more information on shielding please see here.

Who are considered to be extremely vulnerable?

People falling into this extremely vulnerable group include:

  1. Solid organ transplant recipients.
  2. People with specific cancers:
  • people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy
  • people with lung cancer who are undergoing radical radiotherapy
  • people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
  • people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
  • people having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
  • people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
  1. People with severe respiratory conditions including cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD
  2. People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell)
  3. People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection
  4. Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.

Shielding is for your personal protection. It is your choice to decide whether to follow the measures we advise. Individuals who have been given a prognosis of less than 6 months to live, and some others in special circumstances, could decide not to undertake shielding. This will be a deeply personal decision. We advise calling your GP or specialist to discuss this.

Useful Resources:

Stay at home if you think you have coronavirus (self-isolating)

Stay alert and safe: social distancing guidance for everyone

Stay alert: what you can and cannot do

How to stay safe outside your home

NHS Test and Trace Service

How to protect clinically vulnerable people (shielding)

Full guidance on coronavirus testing and eligibility

Apply for a coronavirus test if you're eligible

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