Public Health Advice
COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus.
If you need urgent support, call our helpline on 020 8937 1234 open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
This page contains information, advice and support about:
- Stopping the infection spreading
- Tier 2 COVID restrictions
- Christmas bubbles
- Test & Trace
- Face coverings
- Clinically Extremely Vulnerable
- Medical help
- Travelling safety on public transport
Everyone should follow the latest NHS advice about coronavirus.
Doctors of the World have translated the latest NHS advice into 36 languages, visit the Doctors of the World website for more information and to access this information in another language.
The symptoms of coronavirus are:
- A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- A loss of smell or taste (also called anosmia)
If you have symptoms of coronavirus, you’ll need to self-isolate for 10 days.
If you live with someone who has symptoms, you’ll need to self-isolate for 14 days from the day their symptoms started. This is because it can take 14 days for symptoms to appear.
To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.
If you need help, use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do. Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.
Find out more about self-isolation if you or someone you live with has symptoms
There are things you can do to help reduce the risk of you and anyone you live with getting ill with coronavirus.
- Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- Wash your hands as soon as you get back home
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
- Touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
Brent, along with the rest of London, will be in the second highest risk level – Tier 2 – when the ‘stay at home’ restrictions end on 2 December 2020.
The regional approach, where different ‘Tiers’ of restrictions apply in different parts of the country, is a tougher version of the previous local COVID alert level system.
The specific rules that apply to areas in Tier 2 are:
- You cannot mix with anyone indoors unless you live with them or they’re in your support bubble, but you can still meet people outdoors while sticking to the rule of six
- Pubs and bars must close completely unless they can operate as restaurants and they must all be shut by 11pm
- You can do an exercise class or play sport outdoors, but indoors you can only exercise with other people in the same household or support bubble
- Gyms, non-essential shops and personal care services like beauty salons and hairdressers can re-open
- Up to 2,000 fans can gather to watch any live event or sports match
- You should continue to work from home if you can
- Communal worship can restart, however you cannot socialise with anyone while you are indoors there unless you live with them or they’re in your support bubble
Public health experts have warned that London could easily have been placed in the worst ‘Tier 3’ risk level and that this is where we will find ourselves if cases don’t continue to fall.
COVID has not gone away and is still a real and present threat – especially to older people and those with underlying health conditions. That’s why it’s important you continue to protect yourself and your loved ones to stop the spread of the virus by:
- Washing your hands, or using hand sanitiser, regularly
- Wearing a face covering in indoor public spaces
- Making space between you and others outside your household or support bubble
- When indoors with people you live with or your support bubble, try to open your windows and let fresh air in regularly as this can reduce your risk of infection by over 70%
- Walking or cycling where possible and avoiding busy times and routes when travelling
Find out more about the rules that apply to areas in Tier 2
The government has announced an easing of social restrictions over the Christmas period so that families who do not live together can decide whether they want to risk celebrating the holiday season together.
From 23 to 27 December, three households will be able to meet indoors and outdoors, forming a ‘Christmas bubble’.
The rules on forming Christmas bubbles are:
- Christmas bubbles will be able to meet in private homes, attend places of worship together and meet in outdoor public places, however bubbles cannot meet up in pubs or restaurants
- Christmas bubbles are fixed, meaning once three households have formed a bubble this cannot be changed and you cannot be a part of more than one bubble
- You can travel between tiers and UK nations for the purposes of meeting your Christmas bubble
- Existing support bubbles count as one household
- Children of separated parents can move between two Christmas bubbles
When following these new rules, people are reminded to continue to take personal responsibility to limit the spread of the virus and protect loved ones, particularly if they are vulnerable.
Find out more about Test and Trace in Brent.
The use of face coverings can help us protect each other and reduce the spread of the disease if you are in an enclosed space where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
From Friday 24 July 2020 you must wear a face covering in shops and supermarkets.
You must also continue to wear face coverings when:
- Using public transport, like buses or the Tube
- Visiting a hospital, as an outpatient or visitor, and
- In enclosed public spaces where social distancing is not possible.
You don’t need to wear your face covering outdoors, while exercising or in schools and offices.
Children under the age of 11 and people who may find it difficult to wear a face covering, because of a disability or breathing difficulty, do not need to wear one.
However, from 5 November 2020, following new national restrictions, the government has advised anyone who is CEV to:
- Stay at home as much as possible, although you can still go outside to exercise
- Continue with medical and NHS appointments unless these are cancelled
- Don’t go to work – although you should work from home if you can
- Avoid shops and pharmacies
Read more advice, guidance and details of the support available for people classed as clinically extremely vulnerable
If you need medical help for any reason, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
If you have symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature or a new, continuous cough), use the 111 coronavirus service.
If you need help or advice not related to coronavirus:
- For health information and advice, use the NHS website or your GP surgery website
- For urgent medical help, use the NHS 111 online service – only call 111 if you're unable to get help online
- For life-threatening emergencies, call 999 for an ambulance
Read more advice about getting medical help at home.
If you need to travel, Transport for London advises cycling, walking or driving. This is to help ensure there is enough space for those who need to travel on public transport to do so safely.
Passengers are encouraged where possible to:
- Keep two metres apart from others
- Wear a face covering
- Use contactless payment
- Avoid the rush hour
- Wash hands before and after travel
- Follow advice from staff.
If you're pregnant and worried about coronavirus, you can get advice about coronavirus and pregnancy from the Royal College of Obstretricians and Gynaecologists
Having diabetes does not mean you are more likely to catch coronavirus. However, if you do catch coronavirus, it can cause more severe symptoms and complications in people with diabetes.
If you are displaying symptoms of Coronavirus and they worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days, use the NHS 111 online service. Do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.