The government has issued new guidance today setting out requirements for households where there are symptoms of COVID-19.
The guidance to stay at home for 14 days if someone in the household has symptoms of COVID-19 is the focus of the next stage of a public awareness campaign launched today by Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock.
The new guidance will set out that individuals will still be asked to self-isolate for 7 days from the onset of COVID-19 symptoms but any individuals in the household will now be asked to self-isolate for 14 days from that moment as well.
If other members of the household develop symptoms, however mild, at any time during the 14 days, they too must not leave the home for 7 days from when symptoms started.
The new phase of the campaign will build on the existing TV, radio, online, digital and billboard adverts currently visible all over the country. These reinforce the importance of washing hands more often and for 20 seconds, and asks people to self-isolate for 7 days if they develop a high temperature or a new continuous cough, however mild.
As of yesterday, a further 19 people, who tested positive for the Coronavirus (Covid-19) have died, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in England to 53. The patients were aged between 94 and 56 years old and had underlying health conditions.
The Prime Minister also today set out a number of social distancing measures to reduce the risk of infection from the spread of coronavirus. For those who remain well, are under 70 or do not have an underlying health condition, they are advised to limit their social contact where possible, including using less public transport, working at home and considering not going to pubs, restaurants, theatres and bars.
For those who are over 70, have an underlying health condition or are pregnant, they are strongly advised against these activities and to significantly limit face-to-face interaction with friends and family if possible.
The awareness campaign also reiterates the importance of seeking help online by visiting NHS.UK/coronavirus to check symptoms and follow the medical advice, rather than visiting one’s GP. It also urges people with any symptoms to avoid contact with older and more vulnerable people. Only if symptoms become worse should people use the NHS 111 service.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Coronavirus is the biggest public health crisis we have faced in a generation, and we will do whatever is necessary to protect our elderly and most vulnerable people and keep the public safe.
“This is an unprecedented situation and it’s so important for each of us to rally together and do our bit to protect ourselves and each other, as well as our NHS, from this disease. Combating this virus will require a huge national effort. We must do all we can to save lives, protect the NHS and keep the most vulnerable people in our society safe.”
The new measures with their emphasis on social distancing, mark a change of course for the government. This follows warnings from researchers that a quarter of a million people will die of coronavirus if more is not done. The evidence comes modelling from scientists at Imperial College London.