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Coronavirus: All you need to know about self-isolation

Those asked to self-isolate should stay at home and not go to work or school.

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Spectators wearing masks to protect against coronavirus outside the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Spectators wearing masks to protect against coronavirus outside the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Spectators wearing masks to protect against coronavirus outside the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey (Jonathan Brady/PA)

People with even minor respiratory tract infections or a fever could soon be asked to self-isolate as coronavirus continues to spread in the UK.

Here is all you need to know about what you can and cannot do when self-isolating.

– What is the current guidance on self-isolating?

People only need to self-isolate if they have been advised to by a medical professional or the 111 online coronavirus service.

You should seek medical advice if you think you might have coronavirus, or have been in close contact with someone who has.

Anyone who has travelled to the UK from somewhere with a higher risk of coronavirus in the last fortnight might also need to seek advice. Locations include Italy, Tenerife, Thailand and China.

– When might that change?

People may soon be told to self-isolate even if they have minor respiratory tract infection symptoms – such as flu or a cold – or a fever.

At a press conference on Monday evening, England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said the UK was “very close to the time, probably within the next 10 to 14 days” when people with cold or flu symptoms could be advised to self-isolate for seven days.

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

– What does self-isolating actually mean?

If you are asked to self-isolate, this means you should stay at home, not go to work or school or visit public places and not use public transport or taxis.

– What about other people in my house?

If you live with other people, you should separate yourself from them and try not to be in the same room as them at the same time.

You should also think about a bathroom rota if a separate bathroom is not available, with the isolated person using the facilities last before thoroughly cleaning the bathroom.

You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding or other items with other people in your home.

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People asked to self-isolate should stay at home and not use public transport or taxis (Philip Toscano/PA)

If you live in shared accommodation such as university halls of residence, you should only use communal kitchens, bathrooms and living areas when necessary and take meals back to your room to eat.

– How do I get vital provisions like food and toiletries into the house?

If you are in self-isolation, you should ask friends, family members or delivery services to carry out errands for you, such as getting groceries, medicines or other shopping.

Make sure you tell delivery drivers to leave items outside for collection if you order online.

– What if an elderly relative living alone is told to self-isolate? Can I see them?

People in self-isolation should not invite or allow visitors to enter.

If you think there is an essential need for someone to visit, you should discuss it with your designated medical contact first.

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People who have returned from certain countries may need to self-isolate (PA)

– Can’t I avoid self-isolating by taking a test?

Even if you test negative for Covid-19, you may still need to self-isolate if you have travelled from certain countries.

Those who have returned from a specified Category 1 location – such as Iran or locked-down areas of Italy – should continue to self-isolate until they have been back in the UK for 14 days.

If you receive a negative result and have returned from a specified Category 2 location – such as Singapore or Thailand – you should continue to self-isolate until either your symptoms have gone or you have been back in the UK for 14 days, whichever is sooner.

If you receive a negative result and have had contact with a person known to have had Covid-19 you should remain in isolation until the end of the 14-day period.

PA