Social Distancing and Self Isolation

The government have now introduced stricter social distancing to help reduce the spread of coronavirus by limiting our contact with others.

However, it can be difficult to know what you can or can’t do, and who needs to be self-isolating completely.

Here’s our advice on staying healthy while social distancing, and what to do if you need to self-isolate:

What are the current government guidelines?

From Monday (23rd March) the government instructed that we stay at home, and only leave the house for one of four reasons:

  • Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine and try to do this as infrequently as possibly
  • 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 care for a vulnerable person
  • Travelling to and from work, but only where this cannot be done from home.

This is carrying on for a further three weeks from Thursday 16th April with the government reviewing every 3 weeks.

Who should be self-isolating?

The government has announced that there are specific groups of people who are more at risk of coronavirus to self-isolate, you should be contacted by the NHS with specific advice on what to do. These groups include:

  • Those who have had an organ transplant
  • Have a long-term condition (this includes diabetes or asthma)
  • Are pregnant
  • Have a weakened immune system

The general advice for those more at risk includes not leaving your home for shopping, picking up medication or exercise and to stay at least 2 metres away from other people in your home. The current advice suggests this will be for 12 weeks, but the NHS letter you will receive will have further advice.

You could ask your friends, family or neighbours to pick up supplies for you and leave them outside your door.

How to manage your medication if self-isolating:

For those with a repeat prescription, you might be considering the best ways to access your medication while limiting your contact with others. Our online prescription service Echo by LloydsPharmacy can help.

The service works with your NHS GP to take care of your repeat prescriptions and deliver it to you for FREE*. Simply sign up, request your prescription using the app or website and the team of pharmacists will dispense your medication.

An added benefit is family members, carers or friends can manage someone else’s medication (up to six people of any age, including children under 16) on their behalf, so if you are worried about an elderly friend or relative this is a way you could help.

*England only

How to look after your mental and physical health:

Being restricted to your home won’t be easy, you might find it boring or frustrating and find that it’s affecting your mood and your mental health. There are things you can try that might help you:

  • Try a variety of at home exercises, YouTube videos or the NHS website have ideas to help you stay active
  • It might be tempting to snack if you’re home all day, but try to eat healthy-well balanced meals and stay hydrated
  • Spend time doing things you enjoy or take up a new hobby, you could try reading, cooking new recipes, taking up arts or crafts or trying mindfulness
  • Get some fresh air when you can by opening your windows and if you have a garden get some natural sunlight.
  • Try to go outside for your 1 form of exercise a day, even if that’s just a 5 minute walk
  • Make sure to stay in touch with family and friends, whether that’s through video chatting, text messaging, or over the phone.

Self-isolation if you have symptoms of coronavirus:

If you have symptoms of coronavirus or you live with someone who does you will need to stay at home.

  • If you live alone and have symptoms you need to stay at home for at least 7 days
  • If you live with other people, then you and your whole household need to stay at home for 14 days from when the first person in your household started showing symptoms

Please don’t go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You don’t need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home and testing for the virus isn’t needed.

Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

  • You feel you can’t cope with your symptoms
  • Your condition gets worse
  • Your symptoms don’t get better after 7 days

Please visit the NHS’s information page for more advice and guidance on managing symptoms and the latest government guidance on managing the outbreak.