People in England who have a cough or cold are to be urged to “stay home and avoid contact with other people” under the UK government’s new guidance on COVID-19.
Under the new guideline, from April 1, people with symptoms of a respiratory infection, including COVID-19, and a high temperature, or who feel unwell, will be advised to “try” to stay at home and avoid contact with other people, until they feel well enough to resume normal activities and they no longer have a high temperature.
But the new guideline advises anyone with a positive COVID-19 test result to “try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for five days,” which is when they are most infectious.
Individuals who need to leave their homes when they have symptoms or have tested positive for the CCP virus will be advised to avoid close contact with people with a weakened immune system, wear a face covering, and avoid crowded places.
The guideline says children and young people who are unwell and have a high temperature should stay at home and avoid contact with other people, where they can.
They can go back to school, college, or childcare when they no longer have a high temperature and are well enough to attend.
Routine COVID-19 tests for care home and hospice residents will be discontinued and will only be provided in the event of an outbreak or a resident being admitted. Visitors to hospitals and social care settings will no longer be required to take a test.
But free tests will still be available to some medical and care staff without COVID-19 symptoms when infection rates of the virus are high.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said three groups of people will continue to get free tests if they have symptoms of the virus: some hospital patients, some people at high risk of severe COVID-19, and people who live or work in “high-risk settings” including some hospital and social care settings or prisons.
Javid said that the UK is “leading the way in learning to live with the virus.”
“We have made enormous progress but will keep the ability to respond to future threats including potential variants,” he said.
PA Media contributed to this report.