ANYONE with a "new, continuous" cough or high temperature was yesterday advised by the UK government to self-isolate for seven days as the coronavirus outbreak progresses.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson implemented the strict measure in a bid to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
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It comes as cases of coronavirus in the UK have surged to 596 – with ten people confirmed to have died from the deadly virus.
Self-isolation means cutting yourself off from the rest of the world – staying at home and not going to work, school or other public places.
Here, we take you through what the government says you need to do if you need to self-isolate…
1. Stay at home
If you have symptoms of Covid-19, however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for seven days from when the symptoms started.
You should not go to work, school or public areas and do not use public transport or taxis.
The government also says you should not go for a walk.
By staying at home this will help protect your friends, colleagues, and the wider community and will help control the spread of the virus.
2. Ask for help
You will need to ask friends or relatives if you require help with buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication.
Alternatively, you can order medication of food shopping by phone or online.
Make sure you tell delivery drivers to leave items outside for collection if you order online – they should not come into your home.
3. Separate yourself
You should try as best you can to separate yourself from the people you live with.
You should aim to stay in a well-ventilated room with your door closed and a window that can be opened.
Try to keep the window open as much as possible to enable ventilation and air flow as this will help to keep clean air moving through your room.
If you cannot stay in a separate room aim to keep two metres (three steps) away from other people in your house.
4. Minimise time in shared spaces
Try and limit the time you spend in shared spaces such as kitchens, bathrooms and sitting areas as much as possible and keep shared spaces well ventilated.
Sleep in a separate bed where possible and, if you can, use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household.
If you do share toilet and bathroom, it is important that you clean them after you have used them every time (e.g. wiping surfaces you have come in contact with).
Another tip is to consider drawing up a rota for bathing, with you using the facilities last, before thoroughly cleaning the bath, sink and toilet yourself.
If you share a kitchen with others, avoid using it whilst others are present – take your meals back to your room to eat.
If you have one, use a dishwasher to clean and dry your used crockery and cutlery.
If this is not possible, wash them using your usual washing up liquid and warm water and dry them thoroughly, remembering to use a separate tea towel.
The government says it might not always be possible to separate yourself from others at home – especially for parents of small children, people with other caring responsibilities or those living in studio apartments.
5. Use your own utensils/towels
Use your own toothbrushes, eating and drinking utensils (including cups and glasses in the bathroom and bedroom), dishes, drinks, towels, washcloths or bedlinen.
Ask your family or the people you live with to remember to use their own towels – including the ones you use in the kitchen.
6. Clean surfaces & get rid of waste
You should clean frequently touched surfaces to prevent the spread of the virus.
Use your usual household products, like detergents and bleach as these will be very effective at getting rid of the virus on surfaces
Personal waste (e.g. used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags.
These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste within your own room.
This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in your usual external household waste bin.
Other household waste can be disposed of as normal.
7. Wash clothes
Wash items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Dirty laundry that has been in contact with an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.
If you do not have a washing machine you can then take your laundry to a launderette after your isolation period has ended.
Do not shake dirty laundry – this minimises the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.
8. Do not have visitors
Do not invite or allow social visitors, such as friends and family, to enter your home.
If you want to speak to someone who is not a member of your household, use the phone or social media.
9. Wash hands & cover coughs
Cleaning your hands frequently throughout the day by washing with soap and water for 20 seconds or using hand sanitiser will help protect you and the people you live with.
This step is one of the most effective ways of reducing the risk of infection to you and to other people.
Make sure you also cover your mouth and nose with disposable tissues when you cough or sneeze.
If you have a carer they should take care to use disposable tissues to wipe away any mucus or phlegm after you have sneezed or coughed.
Dispose of tissues into a disposable rubbish bag and immediately wash your hands with soap and water or use a hand sanitiser.
10. Keep busy
Staying at home for a prolonged period of time can be difficult, frustrating and lonely for some people and it may trigger feelings of loneliness.
It’s important to remember to take care of your mind as well as your body and to get support if and when you need it.
Stay in touch with family and friends over the phone or on social media.
Think about things you can do during your time at home.
People who have successfully completed a period of staying at home have kept themselves busy with activities such as cooking, reading, online learning and watching films.
If you feel well enough you can take part in light exercise within your home or garden.
11. Return to normal routine after seven days
You should remain at home until seven days after the onset of your symptoms.
After seven days, if you feel better and no longer have a high temperature, you can return to your normal routine.
If you have not had any signs of improvement and have not already sought medical advice, you should contact NHS 111 online at 111.nhs.uk. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111.
Cough may persist for several weeks in some people, despite the coronavirus infection having cleared. A persistent cough alone does not mean you must continue to self-isolate for more than seven days.
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