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How to avoid getting Coronavirus

The most important actions we can all take in fighting coronavirus is to follow hand hygiene and social distance guidance.

You can help control the virus if you:

  • stay at home as much as possible
  • work from home if you can
  • limit contact with other people (up to six people can meet outdoors and only two households can meet indoors - provided those from different households stay two metres apart.
  • keep your distance if you go out (two metres apart where possible)
  • wash your hands regularly

Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.

Face coverings

By law you must wear a face covering in shops and supermarkets, in banks, building societies and post offices, on public transport, transport terminals and stations and when visiting or attending hospital to protect others against the spread of infection. This now includes other indoor settings where you will be in contact with people you do not normally meet, for example libraries, museums, galleries, cinemas, places of worship, register offices, funerals and our park cafes. Some people are exempt and don't have to wear a face covering.

Babies and children under the age of three should not wear face coverings as they could cause choking or suffocation.

For more information see Face coverings - when to wear one and how to make your own.

Work from home if you can

If you must to go to work, make sure you:

  • travel responsibly, plan your journey and wear a mask if required to do so
  • stick to social distancing guidelines
  • follow safety measures put in place by your employer

Hand washing and hygiene

There are general principles you should follow to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus, including:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitiser. Do this after you blow your nose, sneeze or cough, and before you eat or handle food - Guidance for consumers on coronavirus (COVID-19) and food.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home.

Social distancing

It is important you continue to act responsibly and follow social distancing guidelines in public places:

  • Where possible stay two metres from anyone outside your household. If you can't, stay at least one metre apart and reduce the risk by taking other precautions. A list of these have been  provided by the government at Staying alert and safe (social distancing)
  • do not gather in groups of more than six people (outside) or two households (indoors), those from different households must keep two metres apart or at least one metre with additional precautions


For the most recent advice about shielding see our Changes to the shielding population starting 1 August page for more information.

Support for vulnerable people who are shielding

If you have to stay in your home to protect yourself from contracting Coronavirus, and you don't have friends, family or neighbours to help, find more support available locally during self isolation: Get help if you're self-isolating.

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