Questions and answers regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Short answers to questions you might have about the virus.
What can you do to help?
The single most important thing you can do is follow NHS advice. Wash hands, and self-isolate when you get symptoms and social-distance now - this is vital and will save lives.
Good hygiene, social distancing and self-isolation are critical in the fight to slow the risk of infections - both for yourself and importantly for others - particularly those over 70, those with underlying health conditions and those who are pregnant.
Where can I get the latest government information?
If you want access to all Government advice on coronavirus you'll find it here .
What can the police do if I don't follow the advice to stay at home?
If you do not comply the police may:
- instruct people to go home, leave an area or disperse
- ensure parents are taking necessary steps to stop their children breaking these rules
- issue a fixed penalty notice of £60, which will be lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days
- issue a fixed penalty notice of £120 for second time offenders, doubling on each further repeat offence
Individuals who do not pay a fixed penalty notice under the regulations could be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose unlimited fines.
If an individual continues to refuse to comply, they will be acting unlawfully, and the police may arrest them where deemed proportionate and necessary.
When should you self-isolate?
- If you have a high temperature or new, continuous cough
- You must self-isolate for 7 days if you live alone
- You must all self-isolate for 14 days if you live with others (if someone gets symptoms during isolation all householders must remain symptom free for 7 days even if that means isolating for more than 14 days)
Self-isolation will save lives - it's important you follow the guidance if you're affected.
You do not need to call NHS 111 to self-isolate.
If your symptoms worsen during isolation or are no better after 7 days contact the NHS online coronavirus service . If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.
Why should you self-isolate?
- Self-isolation is the safest way to stop spread of the infection.
- People in the most vulnerable groups should consider self-isolating even if they don't have symptoms.
- Self-isolation saves lives - and while 90% of people will recover from this virus - some will get seriously ill and some will die - it is these people we need to protect.
How should I look after myself when I self-isolate?
- Get plenty of rest
- Drink plenty of water (fluids)
- Eat as health food
- To reduce pain and fever take paracetamol (if you use other mediation get in touch with your care provider)
- Keep in contact with friends and family by phone, video and online
Can I go to the theatre, cinema, the pub, a restaurant, clubs, etc?
From the 20th March the following venues will be closed until further notice:
- Food and drink venues for consumption on-site, such as restaurants and cafes.
- Drinking establishments, including pubs, bars, nightclubs.
- Entertainment venues, including cinemas, theatres, concert halls, and bingo halls.
- Museums and galleries.
- Spas and massage parlours.
- Casinos and betting shops.
- All indoor leisure and sports facilities, including gyms.
The Government has changed the law so pubs and restaurants without a licence can offer take away services. Keeping a distance of 6 feet (2 metres) away from anyone else will reduce your risk of infection and will help reduce the number of deaths.
Why aren’t more people being tested?
According to the recent figures 127,737 tests have been completed.
Testing is now being rolled out to NHS staff workers. These antigen tests show whether someone is currently infected and risks spreading it to others.
Critical care doctors and nurses are being tested first, followed by staff in emergency departments, paramedics and GPs. Tests for social care workers will follow.
Do I need to wear a face mask?
When you're doing normal day-to-day activities face masks will do little to protect you from viruses. The best way to reduce any risk of infections is with good hygiene, like washing your hands, not touching your face and avoiding social contact by keeping 6 feet (2 metres) away from others.
Healthcare professionals may wear special masks if they're spending hours each day looking after people who have tested positive for coronavirus, or may have been infected. If someone has been told they have coronavirus, they may be advised to wear a mask to protect others.
Can I get a refund on my train ticket?
Advance tickets will be refunded free of charge. Season ticket holders will be refunded time unused with no administrative charges. Contact the organisation from which you purchased your ticket for details.
What financial support can I get?
The Government have introduced significant measures to protect the financial resilience of individual and businesses and will likely take more steps over the coming days and weeks. The following two organisations provide updated and detailed support and advice about your money in light of coronavirus (COVID-19).
- This up-to-date guide from the Money Advice Service is easy to follow and filled with good advice about Government initiatives, sick pay and changes to claiming your benefits during this challenging time.
- The advice and benefits and grants calculators at Turn2Us are useful to get support if the coronavirus has had a negative impact on your finances.
I'm worried about paying my tax - is there any help?
Yes - there are 2000 staff supporting a COVID-19 dedicated helpline for businesses and self-employed being run by HMRC Monday-Friday 8am-8pm, Saturday 8am-4pm - 0800 0159 559 who will discuss possible remedies such as:
- agreeing an instalment arrangement
- suspending debt collection proceedings
- cancelling penalties and interest
Self-assessment tax payments are deferred until January 2021.
What can I do about getting an MOT?
MOTs are suspended for lorries, buses and trailers for up to three months. The Government has announced that cars, motorbikes and vans will be given an MOT exemption from the 30th March 2020. But you must still keep your car roadworthy and in a good condition
Can I still shop online and is it safe?
Yes. Online sites, postal and delivery services will run as usual to ensure people can access essential goods. You won't have to sign for goods and they should be delivered to your home leaving a safe distance.
Can I take my pet to the vet?
Vets are open but practices have been asked to provide emergency services only and face-to-face contact should be limited. So only use the vet for urgent or emergency medical care.
My partner doesn't live with me can I visit them?
No. From the 23rd March government instructions advise not. You should not be meeting friends or even family who do not live in your home, unless you are providing essential care for your partner, friend or family or vice versa and even then you should maintain social distancing.
Should I use hand sanitiser gel or soap and water?
You should wash your hands with soap and water for at last 20 seconds regularly but particularly when you return home. If you're out and about and cannot get access to soap and water cleaning your hands thoroughly with hand sanitiser gel can be effective against the virus.
Can I move house?
Following advice from the Law Society, buyers and renters should, as far as possible, delay moving to a new house while emergency measures are in place. If you are self-isolating, or in a more at risk group it's more important for you to delay. If moving is unavoidable because you're contracted to do so and the other parties aren't able to agree a delay, you must follow advice on social distancing throughout your move.
How much can I put on a contactless bank card?
To help manage through the coronavirus the limit has been increased to £45.00 from April the 1st.
I'm an NHS or social care worker do I have to pay for parking?
All on-street parking and open, council-run car parks including pay and display will suspend charges for health workers, social care workers and NHS volunteers..Councils will set up local arrangements so NHS and care workers and volunteers can provide suitable evidence that they can display in their windscreen to ensure they avoid parking tickets. Find out more here.
Can I get up-to-date news about coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Yes sign up here (check your junk mail for the confirmation email).