Protecting yourself and others from coronavirus
There are still cases of COVID-19 in England and there is a risk you could catch or pass on the virus, even if you are fully vaccinated. You are encouraged to exercise caution and consider the risks. While no situation is risk free, there are actions we can take to protect ourselves and others around us.
From Monday 19 July, Step 4 on the Government’s phased roadmap comes into effect. This means:
- you will not need to stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with, and there will also be no limits on the number of people you can meet
- in order to minimise risk at a time of high prevalence, you should limit the close contact you have with those you do not usually live with and increase close contact gradually, this includes minimising the number, proximity and duration of social contacts
- meet outdoors where possible and let fresh air into homes or other enclosed spaces
- the Government is no longer instructing people to work from home if they can, but the Government expects and recommends a gradual return over the summer
- the requirement to wear face coverings in law will be lifted, but the Government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport
- in health settings, such as GP practices, hospitals and pharmacies, face coverings and social distancing measures remain in place
- all remaining businesses, such as nightclubs and adult entertainment venues, will be able to reopen
- all capacity limits at sporting, entertainment, or business events will be lifted
- there will no longer be limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, civil partnerships, funerals and other life events (including receptions and celebrations)
- there will be no requirement for table service at life events, or restrictions on singing or dancing - you should follow guidance for weddings and funerals to reduce risk and protect yourself and others
- there will no longer be restrictions on group sizes for attending communal worship.
Testing and self-isolation
Westminster is offering two types of coronavirus testing:
- for people who are not showing any symptoms (symptom-free testing or rapid lateral flow tests)
- for people who have symptoms of the virus (a new persistent cough, high temperature or a loss or change in sense of smell or taste)
With 1 in 3 people having COVID-19 but without symptoms, regular, twice weekly symptom-free testing is available for everyone who lives, works and visits Westminster. The more of us that get tested, the more we’ll be able to stop the spread of the virus, and the faster we can get back to our lives as close to normal as possible.
Self-isolate and book a PCR test via the NHS website by calling NHS 119 if you have one or more of the following:
- a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)
You should self-isolate at home while you book the test and wait for the results. You must self-isolate if you test positive. If you test positive, you will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace who will help you identify who you have been in contact with and will gather their contact details. You must isolate for 10 days.
You must also self-isolate if you are told to do so by NHS Test and Trace, for example if you have come into contact with someone who has tested positive. This remains the law, regardless of your vaccination status. From 16 August, if you have been fully vaccinated you will be exempt from the requirement to self-isolate if you are a contact of a positive case. You will instead be advised to take a PCR test as soon as possible and will need to self-isolate if you test positive.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines are safe and effective. They give you the best protection against COVID-19. If you have not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine, you should get vaccinated. You need two doses of vaccine for maximum protection against COVID-19.
Using the NHS COVID-19 app
Using the NHS COVID-19 app helps stop the spread of the virus by informing you that you have been in close contact with someone who has since tested positive for coronavirus, even if you don’t know each other. The app is free and easy to use and doing so can help you protect your loved ones and others.
The app also allows people to report symptoms, order a coronavirus test and check in to venues using a QR code. To help protect yourself and others, download and use the latest version of the NHS COVID-19 app.
Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser regularly throughout the day. Regular hand washing is an effective way to reduce your risk of catching illnesses, including COVID-19.
Advice for people at high risk
Coronavirus can make anyone seriously ill, but there are some people who are at a higher risk, including people aged over 60.
As of Thursday 1 April, if you have been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable you are no longer advised to shield. However, you should continue to take extra precautions to protect yourself.
Please see the NHS advice for people at higher risk from coronavirus for more information and advice on extra things you can do to avoid catching coronavirus.