From 13th March 2020 the public are being advised to stay at home (self-isolate) without any testing for COVID-19, regardless of travel history or contact with confirmed cases, if they have:
a. A new continuous cough
b. High temperature (of 37.8 degrees centigrade or higher)
This will help to protect others in your community while you are infectious. DO NOT ATTEND AT THE PRACTICE OR A PHARMACY OR HOSPITAL.
The geographic element of the case definition has now been removed. Travel and contact history are no longer important for diagnosis, which is on the basis of symptoms alone. If people who have travelled do not have symptoms they do not need to stay at home, regardless of their travel history.
Individuals should stay at home (self-isolate) for 7 days from the onset of symptoms following the stay at home guidance found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-people-with-confirmed-or-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection
If you have serious symptoms and cannot manage at home you should use NHS 111 online (people should only call NHS111 if they cannot get online).
After 7 days of self-isolation, people who feel better and no longer have a high temperature can return to their normal routine. If they have not had any signs of improvement after 7 days and have not already sought medical advice, they should use NHS111 online (people should only call NHS111 if they
cannot get online) before they leave their home or let visitors in.
Cough may persist for several weeks in some people, despite the coronavirus infection having cleared. A persistent cough alone does not mean someone must continue to stay at home for more than 7 days.
Everyone is being reminded to follow Public Health England advice to:
- Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport.
- Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
You can find the latest information and advice from Public Health England at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
Testing for coronavirus will not be offered routinely to individuals staying at home.
What should I do if I've been advised to self-isolate?
Public Health England have produced advice and guidance for patients with and without symptoms of infection who are isolating themselves due to potential exposure to coronavirus. This can be accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-people-with-confirmed-or-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection
Frequently asked questions
I've decided not to go on holiday now - do I need a GP letter?
If you have changed your mind and decided not to travel, you do not need a letter from the GP.
"Insurers and travel companies should be basing their decisions to offer refunds on advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Public Health England, not letters from GPs." Professor Martin Marshall, chair of the Royal College of GPs
Our clinicians will not provide any private letters or reports relating to travel plans which may be affected by coronavirus. You will need to speak to your holiday provider and/or travel insurance provider.
If I'm self isolating - do I need a sick note?
In a situation such as this, self-isolation would be advised officially by 111 or Public Health for contact with a confirmed case, or a suspected case, or whilst awaiting results of a coronavirus test.
The government strongly suggests that employers use their discretion around the need for medical evidence for a period of absence where an employee is advised to self-isolate in accordance with Public Health advice being issued by the government.
Emergency legislation is being brought in to allow employees to claim statutory sick pay from the first day off work in order to help contain coronavirus.
Our clinicians will not therefore provide sick notes for patients who have been advised to self-isolate. The only circumstance where a sick note may be requested is in the case of a confirmed coronavirus where the symptoms are preventing you from attending work
I'm generally worried about coronavirus - what should I do?
If you do not have a new continuous cough and/or a high temperature (of 37.8 degrees centigrade or higher) you shouldn't worry about coronavirus.
The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Most of the following is good practice for everyone, to reduce infection risk in general:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand gel if your hands are not visibly dirty
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and other people
- Catch it, Bin it, Kill it - cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue (or your flexed elbow), then throw the tissue in a bin
- Clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces at home and work
- If you feel unwell, stay at home, do not attend work or school
- Call 111 and inform them of your symptoms and travel history
- Do not go to the surgery, hospital or any other healthcare place without seeking advice first