Everything you need to know about the current Covid guidance as virus cases soar

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How long should I self-isolate for? And do I still need to test? Everything you need to know about the current Covid guidance as virus cases soar

With Covid cases once again on the rise, questions are being asked about what the current rules are.

Pandemic-era rules, such as making the infected self-isolate, were scrapped as part of a drive for society to live alongside the virus.

But guidance – especially surrounding leaving the home – remains in place. 

Do I need to quarantine?

Quarantine is no longer mandatory for anyone with Covid after ministers changed the rules last year.

But health officials still advise the infected – or anyone with tell-tale symptoms – to stay at home and avoid contact with other people.

According to the ZOE Health Study some 136,722 new symptomatic Covid cases were reported across the UK on March 20, 2023. It takes the total number of people currently predicted to have Covid in UK to above 1.5million, rising by around 300,000 in just a week

According to the ZOE Health Study some 136,722 new symptomatic Covid cases were reported across the UK on March 20, 2023. It takes the total number of people currently predicted to have Covid in UK to above 1.5million, rising by around 300,000 in just a week

According to the ZOE Health Study some 136,722 new symptomatic Covid cases were reported across the UK on March 20, 2023. It takes the total number of people currently predicted to have Covid in UK to above 1.5million, rising by around 300,000 in just a week

According to the ZOE Health Study some 136,722 new symptomatic Covid cases were reported across the UK on March 20, 2023. It takes the total number of people currently predicted to have Covid in UK to above 1.5million, rising by around 300,000 in just a week

Tell-tale symptoms include a fever, a new and continuous cough and feeling short of breath, similar to other respiratory infections.

A loss or change in taste or smell, feeling tired, an aching body and a sore throat are also signs of Covid.

How long should I stay at home for?

Adults who test positive are advised to stay at home and avoid contact with others for five days. 

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) says infected people should try to work from home. 

Those who leave home while infected are encouraged to wear a face mask and avoid crowded places, such as public transport. 

It is recommended that children who test positive stay at home for three days.

Do I need to avoid anyone in particular? 

Everyone who tests positive should avoid meeting those at risk from the virus, the NHS says.

This includes older people, pregnant women and those with a weak immune system, according to UKHSA guidance. 

Close contacts — such as those who live with someone infected — are encouraged to avoid contact with others at risk from the virus, limit contacts with those outside the household and wear a mask when near others. 

Do I need to test? 

Regular testing was a huge part of pandemic-era life. 

But Brits are no longer required to test if they have any of the symptoms.

So, for those wanting to know if their symptoms are down to Covid, they must buy a swab.

Lateral flow tests, which give results in minutes, are available in pharmacies for as little as 76p.

Only health and social care staff, those going into hospital and at-risk groups can access free Covid tests.

GP surgeries in parts of the country have already started cancelling appointments because the uptick has left them with 'exceptionally low' staff levels. On March 21, the Montgomery-House Surgery in Bicester, Oxfordshire, said: 'We are currently experiencing high levels of Covid amongst our clinical team resulting in staff absence and reduced appointment capacity. 'On Friday 24 March, we will have exceptionally low numbers of GPs and will be offering urgent appointments only. 'Where possible, please submit repeat prescription requests on another day'

GP surgeries in parts of the country have already started cancelling appointments because the uptick has left them with ‘exceptionally low’ staff levels. The Montgomery-House Surgery, in Bicester, Oxfordshire, said: ‘We are currently experiencing high levels of Covid amongst our clinical team resulting in staff absence and reduced appointment capacity. ‘On Friday 24 March, we will have exceptionally low numbers of GPs and will be offering urgent appointments only. ‘Where possible, please submit repeat prescription requests on another day’

The graph shows the total number of patients in hospital who have Covid in England each day up to March 15

The graph shows the total number of patients in hospital who have Covid in England each day up to March 15



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