Testing, care and distancing
- Symptoms and effects of coronavirus
- Care, including medicines
- Distancing, shielding and isolating
Information on coronavirus symptoms, testing and care, including social distancing and self-isolation. See also our related sections on Coronavirus Vaccinations, Infection Prevention and Control, and Data.
Symptoms and effects of coronavirus§
The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of any of the following:
- a new continuous cough
- a high temperature
- a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia).
Anyone who has the main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) should get a test as soon as possible and stay at home until they get the result.
The official UK Government website for data and insights on Coronavirus (COVID-19). Updated daily. Data includes infection rates, hospital admissions, deaths, and vaccination rates.
Estimates of the prevalence of ‘long COVID’ in the UK, using Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey data to 6 March 2021.
Includes information about the symptoms of long COVID and the treatment and support available.
See also DHSC film about younger people who have experienced long COVID: Long COVID: Hands, face space
People infected with COVID-19 in the past are likely to be protected against reinfection for several months, a Public Health England (PHE) study has found, although experts cautioned those with immunity may still be able carry the virus in their nose and throat and therefore have a risk of transmitting to others.
This resource series brings together current advice from experts within the BGS relating to older people and the current COVID-19 pandemic. The resource is updated regularly.
Frontline experience both in the UK and in other countries suggests that many older people may present atypically. This blog outlines the atypical symptoms known so far.
Researchers are calling on more people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds and the over 65s to volunteer for clinical studies through the NHS Vaccine Registry.
The Minister for Equalities’ Oral Statement to the House, on the first quarterly report to the Prime Minister and Health Secretary on progress to understand and tackle COVID-19 disparities experienced by individuals from an ethnic minority background.
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Free COVID-19 tests for the public will end from 1 April 2022.
People living or working in some high-risk settings will continue to get free tests. For example, staff in adult social care services such as homecare organisations and care homes, and residents in care homes and extra care and supported living services, People will also be tested before being discharged from hospital into care homes, hospices.
Advice for those working in adult social care on managing your mental health and how employers can take care of the wellbeing of their staff during the coronavirus outbreak. Change made: Information about the Money Advice Service has been added
Coronavirus testing plays an important role in managing the spread of the virus. Testing is now widely available. Special arrangements are in place for social care staff and people who use care services.
Government guidance on the COVID-19 testing available for testing staff, residents and visitors for all adult social care settings. Please see the following testing guidance for a range of specific adult social care settings:
- testing for adult care homes
- testing for professionals visiting care homes
- testing for extra care and supported living settings
- testing for homecare staff
- testing for personal assistants
- testing for day care centres
- rapid lateral flow testing of visitors in adult social care settings
Order coronavirus (COVID-19) rapid lateral flow tests
Everyone in England with or without symptoms is now able to take a free rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) test twice a week.
Given the critical role testing plays in helping to keep Adult Social Care (ASC) service users and staff safe, anyone working in adult social care who is not currently taking part in a regular testing regime should access tests through this link and test twice a week. This may include Adult Social Care staff such as social workers and support workers as well as those working for charities or community organisations, shared lives carers, personal assistants, unpaid carers and others. Where appropriate, regular testing of people being supported (for example if attending respite) may also be beneficial. This will be crucial in detecting people that are infectious and to help maintain the safety of everyone in the adult social care sector.
An explanation of the technology behind asymptomatic testing and the role these tests play in the national COVID-19 testing programme.
Regular series of webinars at 11am on Wednesdays throughout March and April 2021.
Government has provided additional rapid lateral flow tests to support visiting in extra care and supported living settings. These tests will be available for all the settings which are currently eligible for staff testing. This guidance states that testing is not a requirement for visiting in extra care and supported living settings but is encouraged to support safer visits.
Information about the government’s coronavirus antibody testing programme. In England, people over 18 working in paid adult social care are eligible for an antibody test. In Wales, people over 18 working in paid domiciliary care are eligible for a test.
Guidance for care home providers on limiting staff movement between settings in all but exceptional circumstances to help reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. Updated guidance on retesting within 90 days of a previous positive test in the ‘further guidance on testing’ section.
Step-by-step guide available in different formats on how to use and return a PCR home test kit for COVID-19.
Care, including medicines§
Information for adult social care providers about COVID-19 guidance and support. This page will be updated to reflect new DHSC, NHS and PHE advice as it becomes available. The guidance relates to England unless stated otherwise.
Information on COVID-19, including guidance on the assessment and management of suspected UK cases.
How to protect care home residents and staff during the coronavirus outbreak.
This guideline covers the management of COVID-19 for children, young people and adults in all care settings. It brings together existing NICE recommendations on managing COVID-19 so that healthcare staff and those planning and delivering services can find and use them more easily. The guideline includes new recommendations on therapeutics. The guideline will be updated as new evidence emerges.
Two new clinical trials to develop treatments to prevent people catching (coronavirus) COVID-19 are to launch in the UK.
PROTECT is a UK-wide clinical trial to identify treatments that can protect care home residents from developing COVID-19.
If you are a Care Home Manager and would be interested in hearing more about the trial and potentially taking part, please complete the expression of interest survey. PROTECT is funded by the National Institute of Health Research. The survey is ongoing.
2.7 million vulnerable people in England are being offered free daily 10 microgram (400 international unit) vitamin D supplements for the winter by the government. The vitamin D supplements are being offered to those on the clinically extremely vulnerable list (CEV) and those in residential and nursing care homes in England.
Information for health and care professionals supporting people at the end of life and their families.
Distancing, shielding and isolating§
Coronavirus restrictions remain in place. Find out what you can and cannot do. These Government resources are updated regularly.
Self-isolation is when you do not leave your home because you have or might have coronavirus (COVID-19). This helps stop the virus spreading to other people.
To stop the spread of coronavirus, you should avoid close contacnt with anyone you do not live with. This is called social distancing.
Guidance on shielding and protecting clinically extremely vulnerable persons – Updated 1 April 2021 - DHSC
Although the advice to shield has ended, clinically extremely vulnerable people must continue to follow the rules that are in place for everyone. Government is also advising clinically extremely vulnerable people to continue to take extra precautions to protect themselves.
Guidance for contacts of a person with a positive test result for coronavirus (COVID-19) who do not live with that person.
The guidance explains how you can minimise the risk of spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) while getting the help you need to:
- get around in unfamiliar settings
- communicate with others
- go shopping