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Coronavirus: National information and guidance

An animated Government and NHS image with the message: Let's keep life moving. Fresh air, testing, face coverings, app, handwashing

Don't forget....You can keep up to date with all the national guidance on the Government and NHS websites.

Coronavirus is a virus that causes an illness called Covid-19, which can affect your lungs and airways.  For most people, it only causes mild symptoms, but for others, especially those in higher risk groups, it can be more serious.

Covid-19 is spread through the droplets we breathe out from our nose or mouth, particularly when we speak or cough.  It can also be picked up by touching your eyes, nose or mouth, after being in contact with contaminated objects and surfaces.

The most common symptoms of Covid-19 are:

  • A high temperature, which means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you don't need to take your temperature) 

  • A new continuous cough, so if you've been coughing a lot for more than an hour or had three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than normal) 

  • A loss of, or change in, your normal sense of smell or taste


The Government advise anyone experiencing any of these symptoms to self-isolate at home for 10 days.  This means you do not leave your home for any reason.  If you live with other people, they should also stay at home for 10 days, to avoid spreading the infection outside the home.

Update: From Monday 16 August, if you are fully vaccinated or under the age of 18 years and 6 months, you will not be required to self-isolate, if you are a contact of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.  You are advised to take a PCR test (see below) as soon as possible.  To find out more, take a look at the Government website.

Do not go to your GP, local pharmacy or hospital.  

An image of a woman shopping, with the message: Now we can all get free rapid Covid-19 tests to help protect each otherAn image of a woman shopping, with the message: Now we can all get free rapid Covid-19 tests to help protect each other


If you have no symptoms:

You can now get regular rapid lateral flow tests, if you don't have any symptoms of coronavirus.  As around 1 in 3 people have coronavirus, but don't have any symptoms, they can be spreading the virus without knowing it, so regular testing can help prevent the spread of the virus.

If you have symptoms:

If you or someone you live with, currently have any of the above symptoms of coronavirus / Covid-19, you can ask for a PCR test to check if you have the virus.  The test needs to be taken within the first 8 days of having symptoms.

To find out more and ask for a test, call 119 or visit the Government's website

If you test positive for Covid-19 (so you have the virus), you'll be asked to share your contacts via the NHS Test and Trace Service.  If you're contacted by the service, because you've been in close contact with someone who has the virus, you'll need to self-isolate for 10 days (see above guidance) and if you develop symptoms yourself, you'll then need to book a test.  


You may be entitled to a one-off payment of £500, through the Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme.  To find out if you're eligible, visit Herefordshire Council's website.

If you have Covid-19 and your symptoms either get worse or don't get better after 10 days, contact NHS 111

If you've had Covid-19, there's useful information and guidance available on the NHS Your Covid Recovery website, which can help support you and your family.

To keep up to date with the latest self-isolation guidance, visit the Government website and the NHS website.

From Monday 19 July, England moved to step 4 of the Government's roadmap out of lockdown, which means most of the legal restrictions have now been lifted.

  1. You do not need to stay two metres apart from people you don't live with and there's no limit on the number of people you can meet (although to minimise risk you should increase close contact gradually).

  2. You should continue to meet others outdoors, where possible, and let fresh air into your home or enclosed spaces.

  3. There is no longer an expectation to work from home, however a gradual return over the summer is recommended.

  4. You no longer legally have to wear a face mask, but it is still recommended in crowded spaces, including public transport.

  5. For people at high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable), you are advised to follow the same guidance as everyone else, but are encouraged to continue taking extra precautions, such as asking family and friends to take a rapid lateral flow test, before visiting you.

Although most restrictions have now been lifted, please don't hesitate to continue wearing a face mask or staying two metres away from others, if it makes you feel safer and more comfortable.

It's important to get vaccinated if you're 16 or over, along with continuing to regularly wash your hands, wearing a face mask in crowded areas, giving people space and keeping windows open to circulate fresh air, to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

To keep up to date with all the latest information and guidance, please take a look at the Government's website.

If you or someone you live with has symptoms of coronavirus, you can get an isolation note for your employer, to prove that you need to stay off work.  You do not need to visit your GP for a note.

To find out more, including the criteria you need to meet, visit the NHS website.

The Department for Work and Pensions has issued advice on Statutory Sick Pay for those who are unable to work due to coronavirus.  There's also information available for those already claiming benefits.

To find out more, visit the Understanding Universal Credit website.

Four people having dinner together indoors, with the message: From 19 July, limits on social contact will be lifted. Consider limiting close contact with people you do not live with and open windows to let fresh air in.Four people eating dinner together indoors, with the message: From 19 July, limits on social contact will be lifted. Consider limiting close contact with people you do not live with and open windows to let fresh air in.

Travelling within the United Kingdom

There are no travel restrictions within England, however you should check the rules at your destination, if you're planning to travel to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Do not travel if you have Covid-19 symptoms or if you're self-isolating, you should stay at home and book a test.

Overseas travel

There are no restrictions on international travel, but a traffic light system is in operation, which is reviewed every three weeks.  Therefore you must follow the rules when returning to England from red, amber or green listed countries. 

To prevent new Covid variants from entering the UK, you should not travel to red listed countries.

To keep fully up to date, please visit the Government website.

If you have a specific medical condition or a long term health problem, such as autism, cancer or dementia or you’re a carer for someone else, a number of national organisations have published coronavirus-related information, which you may find helpful.

It’s widely acknowledged that the coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on people's mental health and wellbeing, with people reporting feeling low, anxious, worried or experiencing problems with sleeping.

If you need any additional support, there's a number of fantastic local and national organisations on our mental health and wellbeing page.

Local mental health and wellbeing support

Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust offer a 24 hour mental health telephone support service in Herefordshire, simply call 0808 196 9127.  There's also a range of useful short courses, online therapies and self help guides available on the Healthy Minds website.

National mental health and wellbeing support

Barnardo's See, Hear, Respond is a rapid support service to help children, young people and families cope during the Covid-19 crisis.

Every Mind Matters can help you look after your mental health, including creating your own Mind Plan to help you feel more in control, deal with stress and anxiety and boost your mood.

Mind offer information, advice and support to anyone experiencing a mental health problem.  They also provide a telephone helpline on 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm).

Samaritans provide support, information and someone to talk to 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 116 123. 

Side by Side is an online support community run by Mind, which offers a safe place for you to listen, share and be heard.

If you’re facing a drop in income or you’ve lost your job due to the pandemic, there’s lots of local and national information and support available.

To find out more, take a look at the money on your mind section on the Talk Community website.

There’s been reports of people being targeted through a range of different coronavirus-related scams, particularly those who are older, potentially more vulnerable or isolated from family and friends.

Everyone is reminded to remain vigilant and there’s more information available from the following trusted organisations.

 A scam warning image

Priority shopping hours

NHS / Care workers: Monday to Saturday, 30 minute browsing time before stores open along with priority store access
Elderly / Vulnerable: Monday to Saturday, 30 minute browsing time before stores open

NHS / Care workers: Monday to Saturday 8am to 9am and Sunday 10am to 11am
Elderly / Vulnerable: Monday to Saturday 8am to 9am and Sunday 10am to 11am

NHS / Care workers: Tuesday and Friday first hour of trading
Elderly / Vulnerable: Monday and Thursday first hour of trading

NHS / Care workers: Monday to Saturday 6am to 7am and Sunday 9am to 9:30am
Elderly / Vulnerable: Use the online Doorstep Deliveries service if you live within 10 miles of a store.  Call 0345 611 6111 and select option 5

NHS / Care workers: Monday to Saturday 7:30am to 8am
Elderly / Vulnerable: Monday, Wednesday and Friday 8am to 9am

Tesco (excluding Express stores)
NHS / Care workers: Priority store access
Elderly / Vulnerable: Wednesday and Sunday 9am to 10am

NHS / Care workers: Priority store entry and checkout access
Elderly / Vulnerable: Monday, Wednesday and Friday first hour of trading

Volunteer Shopping Cards

These shopping / gift cards can make it easier for family, friends or volunteers to pick up essential items for people who prefer to stay at home, during the coronavirus pandemic.

Two young women relaxing outdoors, taking a photo together, with the NHS message: Let's get back to the things we love. The Covid-19 vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others from the virus. Join the millions who have already had their first vaccination.

This page was last updated on 16 August 2021 (10:20am)