Everybody should follow basic hygiene measures that help to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other contagious diseases.

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds,
    • after you sneeze or cough
    • when you get home or into work
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • 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


Staying at home

The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives.

When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection. That is why the government is now (23 March 2020) introducing three new measures.

  1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes
  2. Closing non-essential shops and community spaces
  3. Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public

Every citizen must comply with these new measures. The relevant authorities, including the police, will be given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings.

These measures are effective immediately. The Government will look again at these measures in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.

Staying at home

You should only leave the house for one of four reasons:

  • Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
  • One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household.
  • Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
  • Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.

These four reasons are exceptions – even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household.

These measures must be followed by everyone. Separate advice is available for individuals or households who are isolating, and for the most vulnerable who need to be shielded.

If you work in a critical sector outlined in this guidance, or your child has been identified as vulnerable, you can continue to take your children to school. Where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes

Delivering these new measures

These measures will reduce our day to day contact with other people. They are a vital part of our efforts to reduce the rate of transmission of coronavirus.

Every citizen is instructed to comply with these new measures.

The Government will therefore be ensuring the police and other relevant authorities have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings where people do not comply.

They will initially last for the three weeks from 23 March, at which point the Government will look at them again and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.

Stay at home advice

Staying at home can help stop coronavirus spreading

You’ll need to stay at home if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or live with someone who does.

Stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

Staying at home means you should:

  • not go to work, school or public areas
  • not use public transport or taxis
  • not have visitors, such as friends and family, in your home
  • not go out to buy food or collect medicine – order them by phone or online, or ask someone else to drop them off at your home

You can use your garden, if you have one. You can also leave the house to exercise – but stay at least 2 metres away from other people.Information:

If you’re not sure if you need to stay at home

If you have symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature or a new, continuous cough), use the 111 coronavirus service to find out what to do.

How long to stay at home

If you have symptoms

If you have symptoms of coronavirus, you’ll need to stay at home for 7 days.

After 7 days:

  • if you do not have a high temperature, you do not need to stay at home
  • if you still have a high temperature, stay at home until your temperature returns to normal

You do not need to stay at home if you just have a cough after 7 days. A cough can last for several weeks after the infection has gone.

If you live with someone who has symptoms

If you live with someone who has symptoms, you’ll need to stay at home for 14 days from the day their symptoms started. This is because it can take 14 days for symptoms to appear.

If more than 1 person at home has symptoms, stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person started having symptoms.

If you get symptoms, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms start, even if it means you’re at home for longer than 14 days.

If you do not get symptoms, you can stop staying at home after 14 days.

Get an isolation note to give to your employer

If you live with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus, you can get an isolation note to send to your employer as proof you need to stay off work.

You do not need to get a note from a GP.Get an isolation noteInformation:

If you have symptoms of coronavirus and need to stay at home, use the 111 coronavirus service to get an isolation note.

If you have symptoms and live with a vulnerable person

If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to arrange for them to stay with friends or family for 14 days.

If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.


  • try to keep 2 metres (3 steps) away from each other
  • avoid using shared spaces, such as kitchens or bathrooms, at the same time as each other
  • open windows in shared spaces if you can
  • clean a shared bathroom each time you use it, for example by wiping the surfaces you have touched
  • use a dishwasher if you have one – if you do not have one, use washing-up liquid and warm water and dry everything thoroughly


  • do not share a bed, if possible
  • do not share towels, including hand towels and tea towels

Reducing the spread of infection in your home

While you’re staying at home, you should:

  • wash your hands with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • 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 straight away and wash your hands afterwards
  • clean objects and surfaces you touch often (like door handles, kettles and phones) using your regular cleaning products

How to do your cleaning and laundry

Use your usual household products, such as detergents and bleach, when you clean your home.

Put used tissues and disposable cleaning cloths in rubbish bags. Then put the bag into a second bag and tie it securely. Wait 3 days before putting it in your outside bin.

Dispose of other household waste as normal.

Wash your laundry in the washing machine in the usual way. Laundry that has been in contact with an ill person can be washed with other people’s items. Do not shake dirty laundry, as this may spread the virus in the air.

If you do not have a washing machine, wait for 3 days after your stay at home has ended before taking your laundry to a launderette.

Looking after your health and wellbeing

To help yourself stay well while you’re at home:

  • drink plenty of water to stay hydrated – drink enough so your pee is pale and clear
  • take paracetamol to help ease your symptoms
  • stay in touch with family and friends over the phone or on social media, to help you avoid feeling low or lonely
  • try to keep yourself busy – you could try activities like cooking, reading, online learning and watching films
  • do light exercise, if you feel well enough to

There is advice about how to look after your mental wellbeing while staying at home from Every Mind Matters.


There is currently no strong evidence that ibuprofen can make coronavirus (COVID-19) worse.

But until we have more information, take paracetamol to treat the symptoms of coronavirus, unless your doctor has told you paracetamol is not suitable for you.

If you are already taking ibuprofen or another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) on the advice of a doctor, do not stop taking it without checking first.

What to do if you need medical help if you have to stay at home

If you get symptoms not related to coronavirus and need medical help:

  • do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital
  • if it’s not an emergency, use the NHS 111 online service – call 111 if you cannot get help online
  • if it’s an emergency, call 999 – tell the call handler you may have coronavirus

Cancel all routine face-to-face medical and dental appointments while you’re staying at home. You may be able to do some appointments over the phone.

Urgent advice:Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

  • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • your condition gets worse

Use the 111 coronavirus service

Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.


Keep Active

If you are under 70 with no underlying health conditions, you can still be active outside as long as you stay at least two metres (around three paces or six feet) away from other people.

You can walk the dog, go for a run or go for a bike ride – provided you keep your distance.

If you are over 70 and self-isolating, or you are pregnant or have an underlying health condition, but feel well, you can go outside with the same advice of keeping your distance from others.

If you are self-isolating with symptoms, or someone in your household has symptoms, you should not leave your home – but that doesn’t mean you should stop moving. It’s really important to use movement and activity as a way of breaking up your routine, if you feel well enough. Cook, play active games, dance or go into the garden if you’ve got one.

You can find information and guidance for healthy lifestyle choices, and a selection of free apps to download at One You .

If you are unwell – use your energy to get better and don’t try to be active. If you can get out of bed, then do so, but don’t try to do too much.

Finally, if you are feeling better after having had the virus, return to your normal routine gradually. We don’t yet know what the long term effects are but as far as we know, there is no reason why you can’t gently return to normal activity.

Remember, if you go out, you cannot use public gym equipment available in parks and you must not be in groups of more than two people, unless you are with people in your household.

Want to exercise at home?

You can. There are plenty of free resources available for exercising at home:

There are also a huge number of celebrities, musicians, physical trainers and others live-streaming dance parties, workouts and chats while socially distancing – check the social media profiles of your favourites to join in or search on YouTube.

The Body Coach (Joe Wicks) does a daily 30-minute workout for children every morning at 9am on his YouTube channel.

Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust

Mental health and emotional wellbeing

Naturally, you may be feeling worried or anxious due to the unprecedented challenges we are facing.

You may find your mood and feelings are affected and you may feel low, worried or have problems sleeping. You might miss being outside with other people if you are social distancing or self-isolating.

At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour which, in turn, can make you feel worse.

There are simple things you can do that may help, to stay mentally and physically active during this time such as:

  • Look for ideas of exercises you can do at home on the NHS website.
  • Spend time doing things you enjoy when you have time – this might include reading, cooking, other indoor hobbies or listening to or watching favourite radio or TV programmes.
  • Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water, regularly exercise and try to avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs.
  • Keep your windows open to let in fresh air, get some natural sunlight if you can or get outside into the garden. You can also go for a walk outdoors if you stay more than two metres away from others.

Further information on looking after your mental health during this time is available below:

If you are feeling worried about what impact self-isolation and social distancing may have on your life, there is a Coronavirus financial help and rights guide available by Martin Lewis. This includes advice about sick pay, mortgages, rental help, energy top-ups, cancelled events and more from Martin Lewis at

Live Well Kent is a local online and telephone support service offering guidance and advice about mental and physical health.

Mental health advice for young people

Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust

School closures

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, schools, colleges and childcare providers will be closed to the majority of pupils until further notice. This applies to both state-funded and independent schools.

The reason for closing schools is that the fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.

Children of critical workers and vulnerable children

Schools and other educational establishments, remain safe places for children. Schools, colleges, nurseries, childminders and other registered childcare settings have therefore been asked to remain open for children of critical workers and vulnerable children where they can.

Childcare providers, schools and colleges are also encouraged to continue to look after critical workers’ children and vulnerable children throughout the Easter holidays.

The Department for Education (DfE) has published a document telling educational establishments which children should continue to be cared for.

Children of critical workers and vulnerable children whose school is unable to stay open.

The DfE are expecting the majority of settings to stay open for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children so they can continue to attend their usual provider, but acknowledge this will be impossible for some – such as small rural schools.

Where a setting is unable to stay open, the DfE will work with the local educational authority, regional school commissioners and neighbouring providers to find an alternative setting for their pupils.

Where the alternative setting is not nearby the Local Education Authority (Kent County Council) will provide transport arrangements to support them.

If your child’s school or childcare setting is closed to you and you need help finding provision at this time please contact:

For nursery and childcare settings:

Email –
Telephone – 03000 41 23 23

For school settings:

Email –
Telephone – 03000 41 21 21

Department for Education…/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers

Home learning resources

Many schools will be setting some work for children at home, but this may be limited leaving children with time to fill.

We list below some sources of learning activities that can be used at home.

Hungry Little Minds Simple, fun activities for kids, from newborn to five
Kent Children’s University Spring ChallengeDon’t be put off by ‘university’ in the name. These activities are fun for children of all abilities.
KCU’s runs three challenges every year. For spring this year activities have been “designed to support your family with social distancing and self-isolation”.
KCU/CU/TEP Home learning resources Kent Children’s University has been working with other Children’s University managers across the UK, as well as services within The Education People, to create a sizeable resource of home learning activities, Challenge materials and ideas to support children aged 4+ keep creative, entertained, active and busy during these unpredictable times.
BBC BitesizeDaily content that supports you as schools close across the UK, to help you with your education and wellbeing
The Great Indoors Keep your kids learning new skills and having fun (and avoid hearing ‘I’m bored’ from the Scouts
Try this at home Explore nature at home, in your garden or local outdoor space with the Natural History Museum
Science MuseumLearning resources that can be used at home from the Science Museum Group

Social distancing

Reducing the social interaction between people will help reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Everyone should be trying to follow these measures as much as is practicable.

The measures everybody should take are:

  1. Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
  2. Avoid non-essential use of public transport, varying your travel times to avoid rush hour, when possible
  3. Work from home, where possible. Your employer should support you to do this. Please refer to employer guidance for more information
  4. Avoid large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars, clubs
  5. Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media
  6. When in public places keep at least two metres from people who are not members of your household.
  7. Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services

Everybody is strongly advised to follow the above measures as much as you can and to significantly limit your face-to-face interaction with friends and family if possible, but particularly particularly if you:

  • are over 70
  • have an underlying health condition
  • are pregnant

This advice is likely to be in place for some weeks.

Public Health England