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
- Test & Trace
- Face coverings
- Medical help
- Travelling safety on public transport
- Extreme heat
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
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.
The Government paused the NHS Shielding Programme for Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) people on 31 July 2020. From this date, the Government is no longer advising you to shield.
You may still be at risk of severe illness if you catch coronavirus, so stay at home as much as you can and continue to take precautions when you do go out. You can do this by:
- Washing your hands regularly
- Avoiding touching your face, and
- Keeping two metres away from people outside of your household or bubble wherever possible.
You will continue to have access to support from the NHS Volunteer Responder Service, including a Check in and Chat service.
- Call 0808 196 3646 (8am – 8pm), or
- Visit the NHS Volunteer Responders website
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.
Although many people welcome the summer sun, high temperatures can be harmful to your health. The heat can affect anyone, but some people run a greater risk of serious harm. Many of those who are at risk of harm from heat are also at greater risk of severe illness due to Covid-19 and may need to spend more time at home than they would usually. Others may need to stay at home because they are self-isolating or recovering from the infection.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s especially important that you know what actions to take to keep yourself and others safe from high temperatures.
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.