The Public Health Agency has issued new guidance on self-isolation due to coronavirus, as the first cases of community transmission in Northern Ireland have been confirmed.
It comes as health authorities have moved from the containment to the delay phase of dealing with the virus.
Three of the nine new cases in Northern Ireland confirmed on Friday resulted from community transmission.
The Public Health Agency (PHA) said the implication of the first cases of community transmission is that those who display specific symptoms should self-isolate, regardless of whether they have travelled from an affected area.
Dr Jackie Hyland, consultant in health protection at the PHA, said: “This significant change in how Covid-19 is being handled affects everyone, so it is important that people are clear what to look out for and what they should do.
“The most common symptoms of Covid-19 are a new, continuous cough and/or high temperature. If you have any of these symptoms, however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for seven days from when your symptoms started. This applies to everyone.
“If you develop symptoms common with coronavirus, this action will help protect those close to you such as older family members, those with underlying health conditions or a weakened immune system, and others in our community.”
Those experiencing a continuous cough and/or a high temperature should stay at home for seven days from the onset of the symptoms.
Dr Hyland said that, while self-isolation can be frustrating, there are certain steps that can be followed to make the process easier.
Plan ahead and think about what you will need in order to be able to stay at home for the full seven days should you be required to.
Talk to your employer, friends and family to ask for their help to access the things you will need in order to successfully stay at home.
If there are other people living in your home, stay at least two metres (about three steps) away from them and use your own bathroom facilities if possible and sleep alone.
If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after seven days, seek medical advice by phone.
The PHA has stated that those who are self-isolation with mild symptoms will not be tested.