COVID-19 guidance (updated 01 July 2022)

Most COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted. Everybody is likely to feel differently about the risk of COVID-19, and measures that can help protect you and others. This pages provides an overview of current COVID-19 guidance.

Our staying staying safe and reducing your risk of catching COVID-19 page recaps some of the steps you can take to reduce your risk.  

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Current COVID-19 guidance

Additional guidance for people at higher risk

Further support

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Current COVID-19 guidance 

Here we summarise the current guidance for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

England

On 21 February 2022 the Government set out the plan to live with and manage COVID-19 in England. Restrictions have now eased. Further information on guidance in England can be found on GOV.UK

There is no longer a legal requirement to wear face coverings. The government advises wearing a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you may come into contact with other people you do not normally meet. 

COVID-19 tests are no longer free for most people and most people are no longer advised to get tested. If you're eligible for COVID-19 treatments, you can order a free COVID-19 test to use if you have symptoms.

If you test positive for COVID-19 you are no longer legally required to self-isolate, but you are advised to stay at home and avoid contact with others for at least 5 days.

Scotland

On 22 February 2022, Scotland's Strategic Framework Update was published and on 15 March 2022 the Test and Protect - transition plan was published. Restrictions have now eased. Further information on guidance in Scotland can be found on GOV.scot.

Scotland's legal restrictions on face coverings have come to an end but the government recommends wearing a mask in indoor public spaces and on public transport. 

Most people no longer need to take a COVID-19 test. If you're eligible for COVID-19 treatments, you can order a free NHS test to use if you have symptoms. 

Stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you have symptoms of a respiratory infection and have a high temperature or do not feel well enough to go to work or carry out normal activities. Do this until you no longer have a high temperature (if you had one) or until you feel better.

Wales

On 4 March 2022, Wales’ long-term COVID-19 transition from pandemic to endemic was published. Wales have outlined two possible responses to COVID-19: ‘COVID Stable’ and ‘COVID Urgent’. ‘COVID Stable’ is the most likely scenario. This response will be put in place when new waves of infection are not expected to put unsustainable pressure on the NHS. ‘COVID Urgent’ is a response that may happen in an urgent scenario, such as a new variant that evades the vaccine. This response might involve restrictions being brought back, for example, wearing face coverings, working from home, taking extra care when visiting vulnerable people, and taking other precautions. Further information on guidance in Wales can be found on GOV.Wales.

Face coverings are no longer legally required but are still strongly recommended in health and social care settings.

Free lateral flow tests for people with symptoms will continue until 31 July. If you're eligible for COVID-19 treatments, you can order free lateral flow tests online to use if you have symptoms. Free lateral flow tests are also available to family, friends and carers of people eligible for COVID-19 treatments. They can use them to test themselves before visiting you and can order lateral flow tests online or by calling 119.

The legal requirement to self-isolate if you have COVID-19 has ended, although people testing positive are advised to stay at home for 5 days. The COVID-19 Statutory Sick Pay Enhancement scheme has been extended until 31st August 2022 to support social care staff to stay away from work due to testing positive.

Northern Ireland

On 24 March 2022 the Northern Ireland Department of Health published their COVID-19 Test, Trace and Protect Transition Plan. Further information on guidance in Northern Ireland can be found on nidirect

The use of face coverings is strongly recommended in all indoor settings, when visiting any Health and Social Care setting, on all forms of passenger transport and in stations across Northern Ireland.

People most people no longer need to take a coronavirus test. If you're eligible for COVID-19 treatments, you can order a free COVID-19 test to use if you have symptoms.

If you have symptoms of a respiratory infection and have a high temperature or do not feel well enough to go to work or carry out normal activities, you should stay at home and avoid contact with other people. Do this until you no longer have a high temperature (if you had one) or until you feel better.

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Additional guidance for people at higher risk

Specific guidance is available for people who are at higher risk in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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Further support

If you or someone you live with continues to be at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19, you may find the following pages useful: 

However you’re feeling, we’re here for you. Our helpline services team can offer support in a range of ways. Contact us for support.

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