The Government has announced that England is moving to Plan B in response to the risks of the Omicron variant.
- Face coverings are required by law in most indoor settings.
- From 13 December office workers who can work from home should do so.
- From 15 December, certain venues and events will be required by law to check that all visitors aged 18 years or over are fully vaccinated, have proof of a negative test in the last 48 hours, or have an exemption.
The Government has published FAQs on what you can and can't do here.
The latest government advice and guidance can be found here.
Staying safe outside your home
From 10 December, face coverings will be required by law in most indoor public places and on public transport, including taxis. See a full list of places where you must wear a face covering.
There are some exemptions. You do not have to wear a face covering in hospitality settings such as cafés, restaurants and pubs. This is because it is not practical to keep removing face coverings to eat or drink.
You do not need to wear a face covering in nightclubs or certain other night-time venues, including dance halls and discotheques. This is because it is not recommended that you wear a face covering while exercising or during strenuous physical activity, including dancing.
Settings which are exempt from wearing a face covering include:
- Restaurants, cafés and canteens
- Bars and shisha bars
- Gyms & exercise facilities
- Photography studios
- Nightclubs, dance halls and discotheques
In indoor settings where a face covering is not legally required, you should still continue to wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you may come into contact with other people you do not normally meet.
The Government has published FAQs on what you can and can't do here.
Visiting a medical setting
Despite government restrictions being lifted on Monday 19 July 2021, healthcare settings will continue to request that patients, staff and visitors adhere to Public Health England’s infection control guidelines and hospital visiting guidance.
What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms
The main 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)
- Loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus:
- Get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible.
- Stay at home and do not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.
Learn about getting a test here.
Safety advice for patients with suspected coronavirus, who have not been admitted to hospital and will be isolating at home, can be found here.
Use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.
Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.
How to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus
Everyone should do what they can to stop coronavirus spreading.
- Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- 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
- Stay 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people, if you need to go outside
- Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
Who is at high risk?
You may be at high risk from coronavirus if you:
- Have had an organ transplant
- Are having certain types of cancer treatment
- Have blood or bone marrow cancer, such as leukaemia
- Have a severe lung condition, such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma
- Have a condition that makes you much more likely to get infections
- Are taking medicine that weakens your immune system
- Are pregnant and have a serious heart condition
If you're at high risk, you will be contacted by the NHS by Sunday 29 March 2020. Do not contact your GP or healthcare team at this stage - wait to be contacted.
Staying alert and staying safe guidance can be found here.
If you're pregnant and worried about coronavirus, you can get advice about coronavirus and pregnancy from the Royal College of Obstretricians and Gynaecologists.
All adults in England have now been offered at least 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccines are safe and effective. Getting fully vaccinated is the best way of protecting you and others against COVID-19.
If you have not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine, you should get vaccinated. Evidence indicates that 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine provide very effective protection against hospitalisation. It usually takes around 2 to 3 weeks for your body to develop its protective response.
To maintain this high level of protection through the coming winter, you should also get a booster vaccine for COVID-19 when offered. Winter is a difficult time when our immunity is weaker. Getting the booster vaccine is an essential part of ensuring immune defence this season.
Treatment for coronavirus
There is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus.
Antibiotics do not help, as they do not work against viruses.
Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the illness.
You'll need to stay in isolation, away from other people, until you have recovered.
NHS test and trace
For information about testing for coronavirus and what to do if you're contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service, please use the following links:
- Ask for a test to check if you have coronavirus
- What your test result means
- NHS Test and Trace: if you're contacted after testing positive
- NHS Test and Trace: if you've been in contact with a person who has coronavirus
Coronavirus resources for parents and carers
We know it can be especially difficult for parents to explain what's happening in regards to coronavirus to their children. That's why the NHS has produced the video below to help.
Alternatively, you can also download the fact sheet by clicking here.
We're also found this useful resource that offers ten tips to parents and carers in uncertain times, which you can access here.
Birmingham Carers Hub
The Birmingham Carers Hub has a range of information and resources to help those who care for others during this worrying time. You can access this information here.
New mental health support offer
A range of new, easily accessible mental health support is now available for patients in Birmingham and Solihull. You can find out how to access support for your mental wellbeing here.
Volunteering for the NHS
For information on how to volunteer for the NHS during COVID-19, click here.
- Advice in alternative languages
- Coronavirus: deadling with bereavement and grief (Cruse Bereavement Care)
- Advice for people with diabetes and COVID-19
- Advice for people invited for TB treatment or investigation
- Cancer and Coronavirus
- FAQs for highest clinical risk patients
- Guidance for the public on mental health and wellbeing