To stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), you should avoid close contact with anyone you do not live with.
This is called social distancing.
There is separate advice:
- if you're at high risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus – see what to do if you're at high risk from coronavirus
- if you have symptoms of coronavirus – see self-isolation and treatment if you have coronavirus symptoms
How to avoid spreading the infection
It's very important to do what you can to reduce the risk of you and other people getting ill with coronavirus.
You can spread the virus even if you do not have symptoms.
try to stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from anyone you do not live with (or anyone not in your support bubble)
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 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
do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
Read more about meeting with others safely (social distancing) on GOV.UK.
If you can, wear something that covers your nose and mouth in places where it's hard to stay away from other people.
There are some places where you must wear a face covering, such as:
- on public transport
- in shops
- when you go to hospital appointments or visit someone in hospital
Some people should not wear face coverings, such as children under 3 and people with breathing difficulties.
For more information, see when to wear face coverings and how to make your own on GOV.UK.
Things you can and cannot do
The government has published guidance on what you can and cannot do outside your home.
This includes guidance about when you can leave your home, seeing other people and going to work.
If you live in an area with an outbreak
If you live, work or study in an area where there is a coronavirus outbreak, the advice for you may be different.
If you live alone or you’re a single parent who lives alone with your children, you can meet with 1 other household without social distancing.
This is called a support bubble.
Find out more about making a support bubble with another household on GOV.UK.
Looking after your health and wellbeing
To help yourself stay well:
If you need medical help
It's important to get medical help if you need it, especially if you feel very unwell or think there's something seriously wrong.
- If you think you have symptoms of coronavirus and need medical advice, use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service.
- If you need to contact a GP, use the GP surgery's website, use an online service or app, or call the surgery.
- For urgent medical help, use the regular NHS 111 online service, or call 111 if you're unable to get help online.
- For life-threatening emergencies call 999 for an ambulance.
If you're advised to go to hospital, it's important to go. Keep going to any appointments you usually have, unless you're told not to.
Get help and support
If you're at a higher risk from coronavirus, you can get help from an NHS volunteer with things like getting food, medicines and other things you need.