The Coronavirus pandemic: Should I self-isolate and how?

With today’s death toll in the UK rising to 21, there has been much talk of self-isolating to prevent infection and spread.

So, what do you need to know about self-isolation and how to do it?

Public Health England says: ‘You need to stay at home, not go to work, school or other public places, and avoid public transport or taxis.’

‘Ask for help if you need groceries, other shopping or medication.’

‘It’s OK to have friends, family or delivery drivers drop off supplies to get you through.’

‘But you shouldn’t have any visitors,’ PHE says. ‘You can have deliveries left on the doorstep.’

‘Common sense prevails. Steps include staying in a well-ventilated room with a window that can be opened and keeping away from other people in your home.’

Do I need to self-isolate?

Everyone with flu-like symptoms is being asked to stay home for at least seven days.

Symptoms are defined as a fever of above 37.8C or a persistent cough.

Anyone who has travelled to an affected area, or who has been in close contact with an infected person, had already been asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

Spending 15 minutes within 2m (6ft) of someone with the virus, or having face-to-face contact, is judged as close contact and a significant risk.

Patients with mild symptoms are being asked to self-isolate at home. But people are being advised not to ring NHS 111 or their GP to report their symptoms unless they are worried.

The Covid-19 disease can cause a fever, cough and breathing problems. It takes five days on average for people to start showing the symptoms.

Anyone who has travelled back to the UK from the main affected areas and some other countries has been urged by the government to seek advice.

What if someone self-isolating shares a home?

If you are self-isolating and share a kitchen, try to avoid using it when other people are there and take your meals back to your room to eat.

Clean all the surfaces at home with household cleaning products daily.

If possible stay at least two feet away from those you share a home with and to sleep alone.

You shouldn’t share towels, toiletries or other household items with someone in isolation and they should have a separate bathroom. If that is not possible, the isolated person should use the bathroom last, cleaning it thoroughly afterwards if they are able.

Any rubbish that the isolated person has been in contact with should be double-bagged and kept. If the person tests positive, you will be told what to do with their waste.


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