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Protecting yourself and others from COVID-19

Last Updated 8:32am, 9 November 2020


Information about coronavirus is available in different formats and languages, including easy read, BSL and for people who are not online.

Stay alert - help control the virus

As cases rise across the UK, including in Devon, we are being urged by the government to continue to be vigilant and stay alert.

To protect yourself and others, when you leave home you must:

  • wash hands – keep washing your hands regularly
  • cover face – wear a face covering over your nose and mouth in enclosed spaces
  • make space – stay at least a metre away from people not in your household

If you are feeling unwell, get a test and do not leave home for at least 10 days.

It is vital to self isolate to stop coronavirus from spreading in our community, particularly to people who could become very sick if they catch the virus.

Social distancing

Social distancing measures are steps we should all take to reduce social interaction between people in order to reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

You should continue to avoid close contact and remain socially distant from anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble – even inside other people’s homes. Ideally keep a distance of 2 metres, or if this isn’t possible aim for at least 1 metre, and use other protective measures such as wearing a face covering.

This government guidance is for everyone, including children.

If you live in a residential care setting additional guidance is available.

Wearing face coverings

Wearing face coverings is now required by law in enclosed public spaces where social distancing may be difficult and where you come into contact with people you do not normally meet. This will help to protect you and anyone you come into contact with and is critical to keeping everyone safe.

Enclosed public spaces include:

  • shops, supermarkets, indoor shopping centres and takeaway food outlets
  • banks, building societies, post offices
  • on public transport and in indoor transport hubs
  • public indoor settings such as museums, galleries, cinemas and public libraries.

Full guidance on when to wear a face covering as well as how to make your own.

Hand washing

Regular, thorough hand washing is still one of the best things that we can all do to protect ourselves and others.

Wash your hands often using soap and water (for at least 20 seconds), and dry them thoroughly.

Where available, use hand sanitiser outside your home, especially as you enter a building, after using public transport or after you have had contact with surfaces. Avoid touching your face.

Self isolating and getting tested

If you have any of the symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) it’s essential that you follow guidance to self-isolate for 10 days, and that you arrange a test as soon as possible. Identifying cases, and the people they may have had contact with, and preventing them from spreading the virus to others is one of the key weapons we have to prevent outbreaks and protect the NHS.

How to get a coronavirus test in Devon.

You should self-isolate:

  • if you have symptoms and are waiting for a test
  • if your test is positive
  • if you’re notified by NHS Test and Trace or the new NHS COVID-19 app that you’ve been in close contact with a confirmed case

It means that you must stay at home. No work, no school, no visiting other public areas. Don’t use public transport. Avoid visitors to your home. Ask friends or family to help with the things you need doing, like shopping or running errands for you.

How long should I self-isolate for

If you’ve got any of the symptoms, you must self-isolate straight away and for 10 days. Don’t wait for your test result.

If you don’t have symptoms but you’re told to self-isolate, you must do so for 10 days. If someone in your house has the virus, you need to continue to self-isolate for 10 days from the day that person first developed symptoms.

It’s that long because you are at risk of developing COVID-19 for the full 10 days.

Just because you’ve had a negative test still does not mean that you can stop self-isolating early, because you could still put other people at risk of catching it. It’s very clear.

Many people are able to make plans with friends or family to see them through, but there is help for self-isolaters who don’t have others to call.

Help for people who are self isolating

NHS Volunteer Responders or mutual aid groups can help.

If you are worried or anxious, there are online resources that could help, including Every Mind Matters.

And there’s financial help to people if you have to be off work and self-isolating.