What is social distancing?
Social distancing refers to limiting face-to-face contact with others as much as possible. If you have to go outside you should stay more than two metres (three steps) apart from anyone other than members of your own household.
The Government's most up to date advice can be found here.
We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:
- stay at home as much as possible
- work from home if you can
- limit contact with other people
- keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
- wash your hands regularly
Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.
For more information, see the full government guidance on staying at home and away from others.
Read more on what you can and cannot do under the new restrictions.
Should I be social distancing?
Yes, everyone should be social distancing until the Government instructs otherwise.
Easy read guide on social distancing
Take a look at the easy read guide on social distancing: Keeping away from other people: new rules to follow from 23 March 2020.
What is self-isolation?
Self-isolation is the most effective way to prevent the spread of coronavirus and should be done if you show symptoms of coronavirus including:
a new continuous cough
a high temperature
A loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)
If you display any of the symptoms outlined above you must self-isolate at home for at least 7 days from when your symptoms started and order a test.
Consider alerting the people that you have had close contact within the last 48 hours to let them know you have symptoms of coronavirus COVID-19.
Following a positive test result, you will receive a request by text, email or phone to log into the NHS Test and Trace service website and provide information about recent close contacts
You and the rest of your household, even those that aren’t displaying symptoms, must stay indoors and where possible, avoid contact with others. This includes stopping day-to-day activities, such as shopping for food or collecting medication.
If you are self-isolating it is a good idea to call on the help of family and friends to help you do tasks where you would need to go outside. If you do not have a close network nearby, contact KentTogether for help.
Should I be in self-isolation?
The Government's advice is to self-isolate if:
people with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, who have received a positive test result
people with symptoms that may be caused by coronavirus (COVID-19) who are waiting for a test result, or who have not been tested and do not require hospital treatment, who must remain at home until they are well
people living in households with someone who shows symptoms that may be caused by coronavirus (COVID-19).
If you live alone, you should stay at home for seven days from when your symptoms started. If you live with others, then you must stay at home for seven days from when your symptoms started. However, everyone else in the household must stay at home for 14 days, even if they are not displaying symptoms.
What is shielding or social shielding?
Shielding or social shielding is used to describe how to protect those at highest risk of severe illness if they catch coronavirus. You can shield yourself following the Government guidance, and shield others by minimising all interaction between yourself and those who are most at risk.
Should I be shielding?
The government has updated its guidance for people who are shielding, taking into account that COVID-19 disease levels are substantially lower now than when shielding was first introduced.
People who are shielding remain vulnerable and should continue to take precautions. Changes to the guidance include:
‘shielders’ can now leave their home as long as they are able to maintain strict social distancing i.e. remain two metres (3 steps) apart from other people.
If you choose to spend time outdoors, this can be with members of your own household. If you live alone, you can spend time outdoors with one person from another household. Ideally, this should be the same person each time.
This guidance will be kept under regular review. To read the latest information please visit the Government advice page.
You can find out more about the new guidance on shielding and what it means for you and your loved ones via the link below.
Tell us about your experience of care
Has your care been disrupted by COVID-19 and its impact on health and social care services? Whether it’s good or bad, we want to hear from you.
It only takes five minutes and your feedback can help NHS and social care services understand the steps they can take to improve care for you and your loved ones.
More information on shielding
We've pulled together some information to help you understand what shielding means in practice.
What is a 'support bubble'?
In England, from 13 June if you live by yourself or are a single parent with dependent children – in other words, if there is only one adult in your home – you can expand your support network so that it includes one other household of any size. This is called making a ‘support bubble’ and means you are able to meet indoors or out, be less than 2 metres apart and stay overnight as you could if they were members of your own household.
People who are shielding (also referred to as clinically extremely vulnerable) are advised that they should not form a social bubble. Those who are shielding are still advised to maintain strict social distancing and stay 2 metres apart from others – including those they live with.
Further advice about shielding is expected in the week of 15 June.