People with coronavirus symptoms should only call 111 if they “cannot cope”, the NHS has said.

The new guidelines on the NHS website advises those with high temperatures or a new, continuous cough to simply stay at home and not contact them or visit their GP.

When should I call 111?

The NHS is asking people to use its 111 online service if:

  • You cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • Your condition gets worse
  • Your symptoms do not get better after seven days

People are asked to phone 111 only if they cannot get help online.Advertisement

When should I self-isolate?

If you have any of the following symptoms you should stay at home for seven days.

  • A high temperature
  • A new continuous cough

“Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital,” the NHS website adds. “You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home.”

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that elderly people are likely to be asked to self-isolate for up to four months – news that emerged from anonymous briefings.

Those who refuse to self-isolate or comply with restrictions could face a fine of up to £1,000.

What should I do if I’m self-isolating?

The NHS is asking people staying at home to:

  • Try and keep two metres (three steps) away from other people in your home – especially older people or those with long-term health conditions
  • Ask friends and family and delivery services to deliver food and medicine – but avoid contact with them
  • Sleep alone if possible
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds on a regular basis
  • Try to stay away from older people and those with long term health conditions
  • Drink lots of water and take everyday painkillers – like paracetamol and ibuprofen – to deal with your symptoms
  • Not have visitors and ask people to leave deliveries outside
  • Not leave the house – including going for a walk or to schools or any public places

How is the virus spread?

The NHS says it is not exactly known how coronavirus is spread from person to person because it is a new illness.

It says similar viruses are spread in cough droplets and that it is “very unlikely” to be be spread through things like packages or food.