Questions & answers

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 - this is vital. 

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.

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?

If you have a high temperature or new continuous cough you must self-isolate for 7 days, if you live alone. If you live with others you must all self-isolate for 14 days.

Self-isolation will save lives - and while 90% of people will recover from this virus - some will get seriously ill and it is these people we need to protect.

After seven days, if you feel better and no longer have a high temperature, you can return to your normal routine.

How should I look after myself when I self-isolate?

•    Get plenty of rest
•    Drink plenty of water (fluids)
•    Eat as healthily as you can
•    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 ...

While the Government has not banned you going to this sort of venue it has asked you not to. Many theatres, pubs and restaurants will now be closed. We must all do what we can to stop the spread of the virus. The Government has changed the law so pubs and restaurants without a licence can offer take away services. Social-distancing, keeping physically distant from others, is critically important in saving lives.

Why aren’t more people being tested?

The Government is trying to delay the spread of infection so has prioritised testing for the most at risk of severe illness from the virus rather than divert resources to widespread testing. As at the 18th of March over 53,000 tests have been completed. Plans s to test up to 25,000 per day have been announced. Testing currently includes people in hospital who have pneumonia or acute respiratory illness. The reason this is being done is to make sure we are using our valuable NHS resources as well as we can. By focusing our testing on the most vulnerable we help relieve pressure on the NHS and save more lives.

Do I need to wear a face mask?

When you're doing normal day-to-day activities face masks do little to protect people 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 (within 2 metres) with any potentially infected person.

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.

What financial support can I get?

The Government have made a number of changes to benefits and sick pay and will likely take more steps over the coming days and weeks. The following two organisations provide detailed support and advice about your money in light of coronavirus and new government measures.

  • This up-to-date guide from the Money Advice Service is easy to follow and filled with good advice about 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.

Can I claim sick pay?

Will my employer be obliged to pay me while I stay at home? 

Statutory Sick Pay will be paid from day 1 instead of day 4 for those affected by the virus.

What if I have a 'zero hours' contract?

You may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay. Check with your employer in the first instance and if you're not entitled to Statutory Sick Pay, you may be able to apply for Universal Credit  or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) .

What if I’m self-employed?

You can apply for Universal Credit  - the Government have changed certain rules governing this benefit during the coronavirus period.

What if the whole family has to stay at home so we have no income?

If no one is getting Statutory Sick Pay, the family can apply for Universal Credit  -  the Government have changed certain rules governing this benefit during the coronavirus period.

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 arrangment
  • suspending debt collection proceedings
  • cancelling penalties and interest