The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK is currently 15, and to prevent further spread of the virus the government has advised people self-isolate if they suspect they have it, have been in contact with someone who has it, or have been to a place where there are lots of cases. This week Health Secretary Matt Hancock sent out guidance to UK employers which said staff who are asked to self-isolate are entitled to take sick leave.
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But how exactly do you self-isolate? TV doctor Dr Hilary took to ITV’s Good Morning Britain to offer his advice.
He explained: “It’s really difficult to self-isolate effectively and efficiently. What it means basically is coming home and shutting your door to the outside world.
“It means not going out in public, not taking public transport, including trains, buses, and of course, taxis.
“It means coming home and living in your own room, not sharing that room space with anybody else. It means potentially in the kitchen using your own cutlery, your own crockery, your own cups and glasses, so that nobody else is using those things and the virus isn’t potentially being transmitted to them.
“When you’ve finished eating, preferably in your bedroom with the door closed and possibly with the window open for some ventilation.
“It means washing that cutlery and that crockery by hand with soap and water and then drying it thoroughly. Or of course, using a dishwasher, that’s just as good.”
Dr Hilary added there things you should use alone would be a bathroom towel for example.
He continued: “It’s important that if the family are in the same house they use the bathroom first – you have a rota if you like – so that you’re in the bathroom last. And when you use the bathroom, you clean it thoroughly so the risk of contamination is reduced as well.
“Perhaps it’s very difficult to separate yourself from the rest of the family, perhaps you’re a single parent, who’s going to look after the children.
“If you’re going to mix with the rest of the family because it’s so difficult to stay in one room, then you have to bear in mind they’re potentially going to have the virus as well and may need to self-isolate.”
The NHS also states how people should self-isolate if they’re asked to.
It says you should:
- Stay at home
- Not go to work, school or public places
- Not use public transport or taxis
- Ask friends, family members or delivery services to do errands for you
- Try to avoid visitors to your home – it’s OK for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food
The health body adds: “You may need to do this for up to 14 days to help reduce the possible spread of infection.”
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Symptoms of coronavirus to look out for
The symptoms are:
- A cough
- A high temperature
- Shortness of breath
But the NHS does advise: “These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness.
“The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.”
If you suspect symptoms you should call 111 or use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service.
You should also contact NHS 111 if:
- You’ve been to Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, northern Italy, Iran, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand or Vietnam in the past 14 days
- You’ve been in close contact with someone with coronavirus
You shouldn’t go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
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