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New guidance released about what to do if you think you have Covid-19

The latest advice tells people with symptoms to sleep alone, not to leave their home for a week and to separate their rubbish.

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Racegoers use hand sanitiser to keep their hands clean on day one of the Cheltenham Festival (Simon Cooper/PA)

Racegoers use hand sanitiser to keep their hands clean on day one of the Cheltenham Festival (Simon Cooper/PA)

Racegoers use hand sanitiser to keep their hands clean on day one of the Cheltenham Festival (Simon Cooper/PA)

Public Health England has released new guidance for people with confirmed or possible coronavirus, as positive cases in the UK climb close to 600.

The stay-at-home advice states that if a person has symptoms of a coronavirus infection, even if they are mild, to remain at home and not to leave for seven days from the start of symptoms.

The most common symptoms are said to be a new continuous cough and/or a high temperature.

According to NHS England, a high temperature is generally considered to be 38C (100.4F) or over.

Those with possible or confirmed cases should not to go to work, school, or public areas, use public transport or taxis, or even go for a walk.

It says those with symptoms should separate themselves from people they live with and, if they cannot be in separate rooms, to keep two metres away from others.

People should sleep in different beds and, where possible, use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household.

For symptomatic people with shared toilets and bathrooms, the Government advice says to clean them after every use.

In a similar tone, the advice says to use separate crockery and a dishwasher if possible, but if not, to wash dishes as normal with hot water but with a separate tea towel.

Personal waste, including used tissues and disposable cleaning cloths, should be stored securely within two disposable rubbish bags and kept separate from the rest of a person’s household waste.

Coronavirus prevention measures
A picture posed by a model of a person using a tissue to hold onto a handrail on public transport (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

It should be kept aside for at least 72 hours before being put in the external household waste bin, the advice states.

It also says not to shake dirty laundry, as this minimises the possibility of dispersing the virus through the air, but laundry items that have been in contact with an ill person can be washed with that of people who are well.

The advice recommends asking friends, family and employers for their assistance with what they require to remain at home for seven days.

People with symptoms do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation and should stay in a well-ventilated room with a window and keep the door closed.

Figures show only 70% of calls to NHS 111 were answered within 60 seconds, the lowest for any month on record, amid increased demand due to the outbreak.

NHS 111 calls answered within 60 seconds
(PA Graphics)

The advice also stresses that a persistent cough alone does not mean a person must continue to self-isolate for more than seven days, as coughs may persist for several weeks.

It adds that anyone with suspected Covid-19 should stay away from vulnerable individuals such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions as much as possible.

For new mothers, the advice states there is “no clinical evidence” to suggest the virus can be transmitted through breast milk.

It says: “We believe that the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks of transmission of the virus through breastmilk or by being in close contact, however this will be an individual decision and can be discussed with your midwife, health visitor or GP by telephone.”

For those who choose to breastfeed, the advice says people should wash their hands before touching the baby, breast pumps or bottles and to avoid coughing or sneezing on the infant.

The advice says people who are not able to stay in a separate room from other residents should follow the advice to the best of their ability and reiterates the importance of regular hand-washing, lasting at least 20 seconds.

PA