Coronavirus: The Government's Latest Advice

The UK Government’s Latest Coronavirus Advice

We aim to update this article after any key change of advice from Downing Street

How to tell if you have coronavirus

The NHS has listed three main ways to tell if you have coronavirus:

  • A new continuous cough – this means coughing more than 3 times in an hour or having 3 or more coughing fits in 24 hours
  • A temperature – your chest or back is hot to the touch
  • A loss of smell or taste

What to do if you think you might have coronavirus

If either of the symptoms are displayed, then you must stay at home for 7 days. If you do not live at home, yourself and anyone else in the house must also stay at home (self-isolate) for 14 days. Anyone who is 70 or over, is pregnant or has a weak immune system should try to find accommodation elsewhere for the 14 days. Although this may be difficult, you do not need to inform or contact NHS 111 to tell them you are self-isolating.

It is important to note that the 14 day period starts when the first member of the house begins displaying symptoms.

When self-isolating it is essential to try to avoid leaving the house. If it is possible, get friends/family to shop for you and leave it outside your door. Ordering shopping online is also advised (as long as it is delivered only to your doorstep and the driver does not come into contact with you or enters your home).

For specifics on how long to self-isolate, and how long to do so for, please consult this diagram here.

For more, and up-to-date, information please check here.

It is important to note that this is summarised information, and full information (specifically information on vulnerable people) can be found on the government website here.

What are the social distancing measures?

The following is true as of the 18th May 2020.

Everyone in the UK should leave the house only for the following reasons:

  • To exercise or spend time outdoors for recreation
  • Any medical need/care for vulnerable people
  • Travelling to and from work, if work cannot be done from home
  • To go to any shop that has been allowed to open

Shopping should only be for essentials and as rarely as possible. Meetings of more than 2 people in public (of people you do not live with) have been banned. 

Social events such as weddings and baptisms have been banned (excluding funerals). 

These rules will now be enforced by the police.

If you want more information, please check here.

Hygiene advice

The government has advised the following 5 steps in order to improve your hygiene and help to stop the spread of coronavirus:

  • Wash your hands more often – with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitiser when you get home or into work, when you blow your nose, sneeze or cough, eat or handle food
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who have symptoms
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin and wash your hands
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home

School closures

On Wednesday 18th March 2020 the government announced that schools would close on Friday 20th March 2020 for most pupils. It was further announced that schools would remain closed for children of “critical workers”. The following industries that are seen as critical are:

  • Health and social care
  • Education and childcare
  • Key public services
  • Local and national government
  • Food and other necessary goods
  • Public safety and national security
  • Transport
  • Utilities, communications and financial services

For a full list of professions and more information on school closures please check here.


The government has announced that GCSE’s and A-Levels will not be taking place this year. They have claimed that students will receive a grade that “fairly reflects” the work they have put in. Teachers will be asked to “submit their judgement” about what a student might have got if the exams went ahead.

More information on exams is available here.

Venue closures

On Monday 16th March 2020 the government advised that people avoid social venues such as pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants. As of Friday 20th March 2020, the government has told these venues to close as soon as they are able. Prime Minister Johnson has made clear that take-out services should still remain open.

On the 23rd March 2020, the government has made clear that all shops that sell non-essential items such as clothes or electronics will be closed. Playgrounds, libraries, outdoor gyms and places of worship were also told to close.