Short answers to questions you might have
Thanks to investment in research, development and procurement of vaccines a mass vaccination programme is well underway. Alongside the widescale testing regime and the new rapid test programme we all have more reason to be hopeful than before.
Whilst the guidance and rules change in response to the evidence one fact remains - if you cover your face, keep your distance and wash your hands you will help stop the spread of the virus.
Where can I get the latest government information on coronavirus?
If you want access to all government advice on coronavirus you'll find it here.
Where can I find out about the vaccine?
I have put together some useful and up-to-date information here.
When should I self-isolate?
The most important symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of any of the following:
- a new continuous cough
- a high temperature
- a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)
For most people, COVID-19 will be a mild illness. However, if you have any of the symptoms above, stay at home and arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19 – go to testing to arrange.Self-isolation will save lives - it's important you follow the guidance if you're affected.- more information can be found here.
How should I look after myself when I self-isolate?
- Get plenty of rest - drink plenty of water (fluids) - eat healthy food
- to reduce pain and fever take paracetamol (if you use other mediation get in touch with your care provider)
- keep in contact with friends and family by phone, video and online
- get help immediately if you think you need medical attention.
How can I get a coronavirus sick note?
Online isolation and sick notes have been introduced to help employees prove they have to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic. Isolation notes are available to people who can not work for more than seven days, including those who are not showing symptoms but live with someone who does. Get your isolation note here.
Can I ask for a test?
You can get a free NHS test if at least one of the following applies:
- you have a high temperature
- you have a new, continuous cough
- you’ve lost your sense of smell or taste or it’s changed
- you’ve been asked to by a local council
- you’re taking part in a government pilot project
You can also get a test for someone you live with if they have symptoms.
Do I need to wear a face covering?
There is now good evidence that wearing face coverings can protect the wearer and others from infection - so there are a number of situations in which you must wear a face covering.
What financial support can I get?
The Government have introduced significant measures to protect the financial resilience of individual and businesses, for example if you get sick, but it's worth exploring other financial support advice too.
- Government financial support and advice
- this up-to-date guide from the Money Advice Service is easy to follow and filled with good advice about Government initiatives, sick pay and changes to claiming your benefits
- the advice and benefits and grants calculators at Turn2Us are useful to get support if the coronavirus has had a negative impact on your finances.
I'm worried about paying my tax - is there any help?
Yes. HMRC staff are running a COVID-19 dedicated helpline for businesses and self-employed being run by HMRC Monday-Friday 8am-8pm, Saturday 8am-4pm - 0800 0159 559 who will discuss possible remedies such as:
- agreeing an instalment arrangement
- suspending debt collection proceedings
- cancelling penalties and interest.
Self-assessment tax payments are deferred until January 2021.
Can I get up-to-date information about coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Yes sign up here (check your junk mail for the confirmation email).
Can I get childcare?
Yes. Early years settings and childminders are open, and parents of under-5s can continue to use these settings. Parents can access other childcare activities (including wraparound care) where reasonably necessary to enable parents to work, seek work, attend education or training, or for the purposes of respite care for carers.
- Nannies will be able to continue to provide services in the home and parents can form a childcare, or support bubble with another household for the purposes of informal childcare, where the child is 13 or under.
Can I run, or attend, a support group?
- Support groups of 15 or fewer people are allowed, including those for new parents or people recovering from addictions for example.
Should I use hand sanitiser gel or soap and water?
You should wash your hands with soap and water for at last 20 seconds regularly but particularly when you return home. If you're out and about and cannot get access to soap and water cleaning your hands thoroughly with hand sanitiser gel can be effective against the virus.
Can my birth partner be present at all my appointments and the birth?
Yes - NHS guidance now makes it clear that a chosen partner must be allowed to be present at all times.