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Current guidelines explained.

A summary of government guidelines and practical advice to prevent you from getting COVID-19 and to help keep you and those around you protected.

Latest changes to guidelines and rules

COVID-19 guidelines are changing all the time at the moment as we learn how to live with the virus. For the very latest guidelines and updates please visit A lot of the mandatory guidelines have been removed in England. Here are the latest updates:
  • The government has removed the legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for COVID-19. Although the legal requirement has been removed it is still advised to stay at home and self-isolate if you have COVID-19. You should avoid contact with other people to help stop the spread of the virus.
  • If you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 you don’t have to take daily tests and you are not legally required to self-isolate. It is still advised to do so if you can however, especially if you are feeling unwell.
  • The Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme has come to an end as of the 24th February 2022.
  • Staff and students in most education and childcare settings no longer need to test twice a week.
  • Some children aged 5 to 11 can get a 1st and 2nd dose of the COVID-19 vaccine if they have a condition that means they are at a high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 or they live with someone who has a weakened immune system.
  • From 1st April free testing for the general public will come to an end.
  • Face coverings and face masks are still required in health and care settings. This includes hospitals and primary or community care settings, such as GP surgeries and when receiving your vaccine. They must also be worn by everyone visiting care homes.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a virus. It has been in the UK since early 2020. This page outlines key guidelines to help keep you and those around you informed and protected. You can read the official government guidelines in full here.

COVID-19 is a virus that can make people unwell. It affects everybody differently. Older people and people with underlying health conditions are most at risk. Most people get a mild illness, but others can be seriously ill for a long time and might need a lot of time off work or school. Some people need to go to hospital and some people can sadly die.

COVID-19 spreads through close contact with people who have the virus. When someone breathes, speaks, coughs or sneezes, they release small droplets containing the virus. You can catch COVID-19 if you breathe in these droplets. Infected people can spread it even if they don’t have symptoms.

The best way to prevent yourself from getting COVID-19, getting seriously ill and spreading it to others is to get fully vaccinated.

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What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

If you have any of these symptoms take a free PCR test. You should stay at home and only leave home to get a PCR test. Book a free PCR test or have a home kit delivered to you in the post.

A fever

A temperature over 38 degrees celsius or you feel hot to touch on your chest or back.

A new, continuous cough

You cough a lot for more than an hour or 3 or more times a day (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than normal).

A loss, or change, to your sense of smell or taste

You can’t smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste differently.

Other symptoms to look out for…

COVID-19 symptoms aren’t the same for everyone and everyone experiences it differently.

People who have had COVID-19 have claimed to have had some of these symptoms; fever or chills, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing, muscle or body aches, sore throat, diarrhoea, headache, tiredness, nausea or vomiting, congestion or runny nose.


Staying at home and self-isolating is the most effective way to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Treating COVID-19
at home

Covid affects everyone differently. Having the COVID-19 vaccine ensures that you are less likely to get a severe case. Most people with COVID-19 feel better within a few weeks. Find out more about managing the symptoms of COVID-19 at home. To look after yourself during your recovery it helps if you:

Get lots of rest

Drink plenty of fluids (water is best)

Take paracetamol or ibuprofen if you feel unwell

Try honey to help soothe a cough and sore throat

Open a window and wear thin layers if you feel hot

If you are worried

If you are worried about yourself or anyone else in your household seek immediate medical attention. If it’s not an emergency, visit or call 111.

If it’s a medical emergency, and you need to call an ambulance, dial 999. Tell the operator that you or someone in your household has COVID-19 or symptoms.

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How to protect yourself from COVID-19

You can protect yourself and others by:

Doing a lateral flow test before you visit vulnerable people or crowded spaces

Self-isolating if you have symptoms

Getting your flu jab

Washing your hands and using hand sanitizer regularly

Wearing a face covering

Meeting outside or opening windows and doors inside

Long-term effects of COVID-19

Most people with COVID-19 feel better in a few days or weeks. For some people, COVID-19 can cause symptoms that last weeks or months after the infection has gone. This is sometimes called ‘post-COVID-19 syndrome’ or ‘Long Covid’ Common long COVID symptoms include:
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Problems with memory and concentration (‘brain fog’)
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Pins and needles
  • Joint pain
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Tinnitus (ringing in ears)
  • Earache
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • A rash

When to seek help

You should contact your GP if you’re worried about symptoms 4 weeks or more after having COVID-19. For further information visit Your COVID-19 Recovery

Guidelines FAQs

We have collated some frequently asked questions about COVID-19 guidelines here. If you can’t see your question here, contact us.


Where do I find the most up to date information on COVID-19?

You can go to UK Government web page or for more medical advice visit the NHS website

Who is most at risk of severe illness from COVID-19?

People aged over 60 years old, and those with underlying medical problems are at higher risk of developing serious illness.

However, anyone can get sick with COVID-19 and become seriously ill or die at any age.

Are there long-term effects of COVID-19?

Some people who have had COVID-19, whether they went to hospital or not, continue to experience symptoms. This is known as Long Covid.

What is a variant?

All viruses change over time and this is normal. The virus that causes COVID-19, like all viruses has changed several times and significant changes are known as variants. Some variants can overtake previous strains of the virus and spread in the community. Each new variant that circulates is given a name.

What is the Omicron variant?

There is a new variant called Omicron spreading in the UK., which  could spread more widely. This variant is being taken very seriously around the world because it spreads more easily and twothe COVID-19 vaccinations are not enough to protect against it, everyone needs to have both vaccinations and a Booster jab to get the full protection. that we currently have may be less effective against this variant. The best protection against Omicron is being up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations and following current guidelines.

Is the COVID-19 virus milder now?

The omicron variant is resulting in fewer people needing hospital treatment compared with other variants. But even if Omicron is milder it does spread quickly meaning a lot more people are catching COVID-19. 


There is also no way of knowing who will have a mild case and who will not however the UK Health Security Agency’s (UKHSA) most recent data (29th December 2021) reported that of those admitted to hospital with confirmed omicron infection 74% had not had three doses of vaccine. 

If I’ve already had COVID-19 and I had no symptoms or it was very mild, does that mean I don’t need to worry about catching it again?

It’s possible to get COVID-19 more than once, if you are unvaccinated, that also increases your risk of catching Covid again. Having a mild case of COVID-19 doesn’t mean that if you were to get it again it would be also be a mild case. If you’ve already had Covid-19, or if you haven’t, the safest approach is to make sure you’ve had both doses of the vaccine, as well as a booster. 

Can I still breastfeed if I have covid?

There is currently no evidence to suggest that the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted through breast milk. However, COVID-19 infection can be passed on to a baby in the same way as it can to anyone in close contact with. Wearing a face covering is a good way to reduce transmission