Background and scope of guidance
This guidance is for everyone, including children. It advises on social distancing measures we should all be taking to reduce social interaction between people in order to reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). It is intended for use in situations where people are living in their own homes, with or without additional support from friends, family and carers. If you live in a residential care setting guidance is available.
We are advising those who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures.
Note: there are some clinical conditions which put people at even higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. If you are in this category, next week the NHS in England will directly contact you with advice about the more stringent measures you should take in order to keep yourself and others safe. For now, you should rigorously follow the social distancing advice in full, outlined below.
People falling into this group are those who may be at particular risk due to complex health problems such as:
What is social distancing?
Social distancing measures are steps you can take to reduce social interaction between people. This will help reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).
They are to:
Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
Avoid non-essential use of public transport when possible
Work from home, where possible. Your employer should support you to do this. Please refer to employer guidance for more information
Avoid large and small gatherings in public spaces, noting that pubs, restaurants, leisure centres and similar venues are currently shut as infections spread easily in closed spaces where people gather together.
Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media
Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services
Everyone should be trying to follow these measures as much as is practicable.
We strongly advise you to follow the above measures as much as you can and to significantly limit your face-to-face interaction with friends and family if possible, particularly if you:
This advice is likely to be in place for some weeks.
Handwashing and respiratory hygiene
There are general principles you can follow to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
What should you do if you develop symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)
The same guidance applies to the general population and those at increased risk of severe illness form coronavirus (COVID-19). If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 (high temperature and/or new and continuous cough), self-isolate at home for 7 days. You can find the full guidance at stay at home.