A lot of guidance surrounding covid-19 has changed over the past few weeks. It is important to keep up to date with the latest national advice and restrictions.
What is Plan A guidance?
From Thursday 27th January, England will return to 'Plan A' Covid-19 Guidance, this means:
- Face coverings are no longer a legal requirement, but is suggested to continue to wear one when in crowded & enclosed public spaces.
- Work-from-home guidance has been lifted. Workers must speak to their employers about return to office arrangements.
- Venues & events are no longer required by law to check NHS Covid Pass.
- Residents are still encouraged to get vaccinated & boosted when they can.
- Test, trace & isolate should still be practiced.
I am feeling generally unwell but don’t have any of the three main symptoms of cough, temperature or loss of taste of smell – am I okay to go to work / school?
Although the three main symptoms do remain a good indicator, while community transmission is so high we would recommend that anybody feeling ‘generally unwell’ uses a Lateral Flow Test. You can order them via the government website.
Somebody I live with has tested positive, can I still go to work / school?
What if I do not have any LFTs available?
If you are living with somebody who is positive (or have been identified as a close contact) but do not have any LFTs to hand, we would advise that you either order some online via the government website immediately or ask a friend to collect from a local pharmacy. Reminder that before you pick up LFT's from a pharmacy you should get a collection code. You should only go to the pharmacy without a collection code if there is none available. Until you have access to an LFT we would recommend that you self-isolate as a precaution.
I have tested positive, how long do I have to isolate for?
There is no longer a legal requirement for people with coronavirus (COVID-19) infection to self-isolate, however if you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive test result, the public health advice is to stay at home and avoid contact with other people.
The following advice is for:
- people with any of the main symptoms of COVID-19
- people who have received a positive COVID-19 lateral flow device (LFD) or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result
- people who live in the same household as, or who have had close contact with, someone who has COVID-19
This also applies to children and young people who usually attend an education or childcare setting, with additional information available for these settings.
There is separate guidance for those working in health and social care settings.
What does the term 'fully vaccinated' mean?
What do I do if I start experiencing coronavirus symptoms?
What is different about the Omicron variant?
Early indications show that although Omicron is more infectious than previous variants that we have seen, there may also be a reduced risk of hospitalisation. However, this reduction may be due to a larger proportion of Omicron cases being re-infections and the majority of new infections have been in the younger working age group. Both associated with a lower risk of becoming severely unwell.
High case numbers overall mean that hospitalisations are high even with a smaller proportion of people becoming unwell. The best way to reduce risks against Covid-19, including the Omicron variant, still is to; test regularly, get vaccinated & boosted, practicing good hand hygiene, wearing face coverings and using ventilation when indoors.
What has changed in the testing guidance?
Anyone who develops 1 of the 3 mainCOVID-19 symptoms should stay at home and self-isolate and take aPCR test. Under this new approach, anyone who receives a positiveLFT test result should report their result onGOV.UK but will not need to take a follow-upPCR test. After reporting a positiveLFD test result, they will be contacted byNHS Test and Trace so that their contacts can be traced and must continue to self-isolate. There are a few exceptions to this revised approach:
- People participating in research or surveillance programmes may still be asked to take a follow-up PCR test, according to the research or surveillance protocol.
- Finally, around one million people in England who are at particular risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 have been identified by the NHS as being potentially eligible for new treatments. They will be receiving a PCR test kit at home by mid-January to use if they develop symptoms or if they get a positive LFT result, as they may be eligible for new treatments if they receive a positive PCR result. This group should use these priority PCR tests when they have symptoms as it will enable prioritised laboratory handling.
When taking a LFT, please be sure to register the result via the NHS app. You should register your covid-19 test result whether it is positive or negative.
Why should I register my Lateral Flow Test result?
Can I still visit a care home?
For guidance on care home visits, please follow the guidance on the government website. For specific information on a particular carehome, please contact the care home in question directly.
Return to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) homepage