Staying alert and safe

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What to do if you have symptoms

If you have symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or change in your sense of smell or taste), use the 111 online coronavirus service to check your symptoms. Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

Check your symptoms

If you have symptoms, you should apply for a test to check if you have the virus. Do not wait. 

Get a test to check if you have coronavirus now

Self-isolate if:

  • you have any symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
  • you're waiting for a coronavirus test result
  • you've tested positive for coronavirus - this means you have coronavirus
  • you live with someone who has symptoms, is waiting for a test result or has tested positive
  • someone in your support bubble has symptoms, is waiting for a test result or has tested positive

Read about how long to self-isolate 

It is important to get medical help if your symptoms get worse. See the NHS website for what to do.

For life-threatening emergencies, call 999 for an ambulance.

How to avoid spreading the infection

Keeping apart. Keeps us safe.It's very important to do what you can to reduce the risk of you and other people getting ill with coronavirus.

You can spread the virus even if you do not have symptoms.

  • try to stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from anyone you do not live with (or anyone not in your support bubble)
  • wash your hands with soap and water often - do this for at least 20 seconds
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • wash your hands as soon as you get home
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Read more on staying safe outside your home

Face covering newFace coverings

Wear something that covers your nose and mouth:

  • on public transport
  • when you go to hospital appointments or visit someone in hospital
  • in shops and takeaways
  • in enclosed shopping centres
  • in banks, building societies, loan providers, money exchange and similar financial services
  • in post offices
  • museums and galleries
  • cinemas
  • places of worship

There are some circumstances, for health, age or equality reasons, where people are not expected to wear face coverings. Read more about face mask exemptions on the website.

To find out who needs to wear a face covering on public transport, see safer travel guidance for passengers on

For those who would feel more comfortable showing something that says they do not have to wear a face covering, exemption cards are available to print or display on mobile phones - see the government's website.  

Read more on face coverings

Things you can and cannot do

There are rules on how people can see others outside of their household and stay socially distanced. 

Read the guidance on meeting people from outside your home

Read the guidance on social distancing

The government has also produced an FAQ document outlining what the public can and can't do. Read the FAQs on

Staying safe online

During the current pandemic, the police are calling on parents, friends and family to pay particular attention to what young or vulnerable people in their care are looking at online.

The police believe that social isolating measures could make some of the most vulnerable people in society more susceptible to radicalisation (the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and forms of extremism leading to terrorism) or other forms of grooming, and that the risk of being drawn into violent extremism may increase for some vulnerable people.

If you have any worries or concerns, visit the dedicated Let's Talk About It website, which has advice and guidance on what signs to look out for and what to do and where to go for help if you think somebody is being placed at, or is at, particular risk of being radicalised and drawn into violent extremism or terrorism.

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Page last updated: 08 Aug 2020