This page has been designed to provide up-to-date information, guidance and advice with regards to Coronavirus (COVID-19).
If you need medical help, please use the 111 online coronavirus service.
Please click here for the Government's latest guidance.
Update on tackling coronavirus 12-10-2020
- Coronavirus cases are rising rapidly across the country. In the past four weeks, the number of Covid patients admitted to intensive care units in hospitals in some parts of the country has increased sevenfold.
- If infections continue to rise at this rate, then in just four more weeks those hospitals could be treating more Covid patients than they did at the peak of the first wave.
- The country is far better prepared for this second wave of the pandemic than it was in March; we understand far more about the virus and how it spreads.
- We must act now to control the spread of the virus and protect the NHS, so we can keep cancer treatments, elective surgeries and other vital diagnostic services going.
What we are doing:
Throughout the pandemic, we have worked closely with local leaders to tackle local outbreaks with targeted restrictions. This has saved lives, and has avoided the need to apply those measures nationally. However, this has led to different rules in different parts of the country. These have become increasingly hard to understand and to enforce. We have already simplified national rules where possible; the Rule of Six and Hands, Face, Space. And today, the Prime Minister has set out how – from Wednesday, 14 October 2020 – we will simplify and standardise local rules by introducing a three tiered system of local Covid Alert Levels in England. There will be three levels:
Local COVID Alert Level – Medium
This is for areas where national restrictions continue to be in place. This means:
- All businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law, such as nightclubs.
- Certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are required to close between 10pm and 5am. Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-thru.
- Schools, universities and places of worship remain open
- Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees
- Organised indoor sport and exercise classes can continue to take place, provided the Rule of 6 is followed
- People must not meet in groups larger than 6, indoors or outdoors
Local COVID Alert Level – High
This is for areas with a higher level of infections. This primarily aims to reduce household to household transmission by preventing all mixing between households or support bubbles indoors. This means the following additional measures are in place:
- People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
- People must not meet in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other space.
- People should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible. If they need to travel, they should walk or cycle where possible, or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.
Local COVID Alert Level - Very High
This is for areas with a very high level of infections. The Government will set a baseline of measures for any area in this local alert level. Consultation with local authorities will determine additional measures. The baseline means the below additional measures are in place:
- Pubs and bars must close. They can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant.
- Wedding receptions are not allowed
- People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor or outdoor setting, whether at home or in a public space
People should try to avoid travelling outside the ‘Very High’ area they are in, or entering a ‘Very High’ area, other than for things like work, education, accessing youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if they are in transit.
- People should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if they are resident in a ‘Very High’ area, or avoid staying overnight in a ‘Very High’ area if they are resident elsewhere.
From Wednesday, Liverpool City Region will be placed onto the ‘Very High’ Local Covid Alert Level. The Liverpool City Region includes the local authority districts of Halton, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral, as well as the City of Liverpool.
A postcode checker on gov.uk will show which alert level applies in each area and the NHS Covid-19 app will also direct people to this information.
Regulations for all three local alert levels are being laid today, will be debated and voted on tomorrow, and come into force on Wednesday, subject to the approval of Parliament. These measures will be kept under constant review, including a four-week sunset clause for interventions in ‘very high’ areas.
- On Friday, the Chancellor announced new support to protect jobs and support businesses whose premises are legally required to shut as part of local or national restrictions.
- An expansion of the jobs support scheme paying the wages of staff who cannot work. The government will support eligible businesses by paying two thirds of each employees’ salary (or 67%), up to a maximum of £2,100 a month.
- Increasing cash grants for businesses will also be increased to up to £3,000 per month
- We have put in place one of the world’s most comprehensive economic responses – backed by £190 billion
- Protected 12 million jobs through furlough and self-employed schemes – at a cost of nearly £53 billion.
We have also put in place
- the £1,000 Job Retention Bonus which encourages employers to keep staff on payroll.
- the original Job Support Scheme - which is designed to support businesses that are facing low demand over the winter months
- Broader government support to local authorities in England due to Covid-19 includes:
- over £3.7 billion of un-ring-fenced grant funding to help them respond to pressure across all their services
- over £1.1 billion ring-fenced to support social care providers, helping to tackle the spread of the virus
We are better prepared but we must protect the NHS’s ability to provide vital care.
- We have built the largest diagnostic network in British history:
- One of the best testing rates in the world outpacing Germany, Spain, and Italy.
- Capacity for over 310,000 PCR tests on 9 October – this doubled over the summer.
- We will increase this to 500,000 tests a day by the end of October.
- 7 Nightingale hospitals (2 of which are being used to tackle cancer backlogs). Today (12 October) Nightingales in Sunderland, Manchester and Harrogate are being asked to prepare to accept patients.
- Over 3.8 billion items of PPE delivered since the start of the outbreak – and we are building a strategic stockpile and domestic pipeline to ensure our resilience.
- 30,000 ventilators, up from 9,000 in March.
- 99 per cent of GPs able to offer video consultations – from 3 per cent pre-pandemic.
- Two of the world’s leading vaccine programmes, here in the UK – and the first country to discover a proven therapy with dexamethasone.
Information about COVID-19
Coronaviruses are a ‘type’ of virus. The coronavirus we are all hearing about is called COVID-19, but you may also hear it called - coronavirus.
How serious is COVID-19?
The evidence shows us that the vast majority of people who get this virus have relatively mild symptoms and make a full recovery. But in a small percentage of cases, the virus can cause more severe symptoms. This is particularly true for people with a weakened immune system, for older people and for those with long term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.
A lot of false information about this virus is being shared - it’s very important that you make sure that the information you use comes from a trusted source - all of the information on this page has been sourced from the NHS.
What are the symptoms?
If you are infected you may have very minor symptoms, minor symptoms or more severe symptoms, but the NHS cites two symptoms to look out for as:
- A new continuous cough
- A fever or high temperature
What should I do if I have either of the above symptoms?
- Protect others - don't call NHS 111
- Protect others - don't call, or go to your GP
- Protect others - don't go to your local hospital
If you live alone - isolate yourself at home immediately for 7 days
If you live with others - you should all isolate yourselves at home for 14 days - this 14-day period starts from the day the first person in the home noticed the symptoms.
The evidence suggests - your staying at home for 14 days will significantly reduce the number of people in the community that will become infected with the virus.
For anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period.
If at-risk people share your home - such as those who are older and those with underlying health conditions - it is advisable for them to move out, perhaps to stay with friends or family for the whole isolation period. They need to minimise contact with others during this period whether or not they are able to move out.
For further information read this government advice on staying at home and isolating.
What should I do if self-isolation is challenging?
- You can't manage with your symptoms at home
- Your conditions get worse
- Your symptoms do not get better after 7 days
You should use the online 111 service or if you can't use the online service call 111
How can you avoid getting and spreading the virus?
Scientists think the virus spreads via droplets from coughs and sneezes and we know it spreads easily and can stay on surfaces for a while. It's possible that a lot of us will get it and be affected by it, but if you follow the advice below you will reduce your risk and the risk to others.
- Avoid non-essential contact with others - work from home if you can, avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and mass gatherings
- Wash your hands - with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds. Do this before leaving home and after returning home, before eating and drinking, and after coughing or sneezing
- Cover your mouth and nose - with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze - tissue in the bin and wash, or disinfect, your hands immediately
- Don't touch your face - especially your eyes, nose and mouth
- Clean surfaces - disinfect surfaces around you - especially mobiles, computers, keyboards, worktops, desks, handles...
- Stay at home for 7 (individual) or 14 (group) days - this means not going out at all - do this even if you think your symptoms are mild
- Ask for help - if you find it hard to stay at home - text, email, phone, friends, family, employers or your community to get help - but they mustn't come into your home
- Keep your distance - keep 2 metres (around 3 steps) away from others - including family - for the full period - do not go to your GP surgery or hospital
- Sleep alone - if you can sleep alone you must - it will help ensure people you live with aren't infected
- Keep washing your hands - often and for 20 seconds with soap and water helps
- Drink plenty of fluids - and take everyday pain killers like paracetamol if you need to
- Keep cleaning - so you keep surfaces clean
- Reduce contact with at risk people - people over 70, women who are pregnant and those with underlying health conditions are more at risk - help keep them safe.