COVID-19: Official health information and guidance

The majority of COVID-19 restrictions  have come to an end and guidance focuses on personal responsibility with people being encouraged to continue to take precautions to keep themselves and others safe. e

On this page:

Symptoms of COVID-19

The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:

  • New continuous cough
  • High temperature
  • Loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell

For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness, but however mild your symptoms, you should stay at home.

Visit the NHS coronavirus webpage for the latest advice and guidance.

Read Government information and advice in other languages and accessible formats

Get tested

Remember to self-isolate and take a COVID-19 test (PCR) as soon as possible if you are displaying symptoms.

If you are not displaying symptoms, but want to check you are COVID-free before seeing friends, family or going into work, take a lateral flow test.

Take precautions to stay well

To keep safe, remember to:

  • Hands: Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds.
  • Face: Wear a mask on public transport and if you are going into a shop. Apply for one of our exempt badges if you do not have to wear a mask
  • Space: Keep your distance if you go out with people you don't know
  • Ventilate: If meeting others, make sure that you are in a well-ventilated area. Try to open windows or meet outdoors!

Self-isolation rules

From Monday 16 August 2021, people who are double jabbed (with the COVID-19 vaccination) or aged under 18 will no longer be legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case. Instead, if they have been identified as close contacts by NHS Test and Trace, they will be advised to take a PCR test as soon as possible to check if they have the virus and for variants of concern.

View new rules on self-isolation

Have the vaccine

One of the best ways to keep yourself and others safe is to have the COVID-19 vaccine. You can book your appointment online, or attend one of the many walk-in clinics across South West London.

Download the apps

NHS Test and Trace app - this allows you to receive alerts if you have been in close contact with someone with coronavirus – enabling you to self-isolate.

General NHS app - this links to your GP record and allows you to have access to a COVID pass, which will enable you to show your vaccination status if you are travelling abroad. 

Travel safely

If you are planning on travelling overseas this year, make sure you check the latest restrictions and requirements of travel. This could include a requirement to take a test before and after you leave and possibly quarantine.

Latest government information

The government has announced their plans for sustaining the progress made over the past few months and prepare the country for future challenges in the months ahead as we move into winter. This is to ensure the NHS does not come under unsustainable pressure.

The government plans to achieve this by:

  • Building defences through pharmaceutical interventions: vaccines, antivirals and disease modifying therapeutics.
  • Identifying and isolating positive cases to limit transmission: Test, Trace and Isolate.
  • Supporting the NHS and social care: managing pressures and recovering services.
  • Advising people on how to protect themselves and others: clear guidance and communications.
  • Pursuing an international approach: helping to vaccinate the world and managing risks at the border.

However, if the NHS comes under unsustainable pressure, the government has prepared a Plan B for England. The Autumn and Winter plan sets what to expect if further measures become necessary. Plan B prioritises measures which can help control transmission of the virus while seeking to minimise economic and social impacts. More information

You can find the latest information on the situation in the UK on GOV.UK.

For information on symptoms, how to protect yourself, and what to do if you think you might have coronavirus, visit the NHS coronavirus webpage.