COVID-19 advice

Find how to protect yourself from COVID-19, what to do if you have symptoms or test positive and how to get support if you need it.

Updated 19.10.2022

For the latest information see nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

COVID-19 is an illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus. If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or if you have tested positive for coronavirus, try to stay at home and avoid contact with others.

COVID-19 Vaccination

If you are eligible for a COVID vaccination, you can get your vaccination from clinics either by walking in or book in advance using the online national booking service, by calling 119 for free (200 languages available) or by responding to letters or texts from your GP or specialist. The number of vaccine doses you should get will vary depending on criteria, such as your age. You can now also get your booster vaccination from walk-in services in south east London.

You can find a list of the closest walk-in sites that offer covid vaccination.

What to do if you have symptoms

Try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you:

  • have any symptoms of COVID-19, and have a high temperature or you do not feel well enough to go to work or do your normal activities
  • have tested positive for COVID-19 – this means it’s very likely you have the virus

You should avoid being in close contact with people at higher risk from COVID-19.

This is particularly important if their immune system means they’re at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, even if they’ve had a COVID-19 vaccine.

There’s further advice if you’re eligible for COVID-19 treatments.

You can find separate guidance for children and young people aged 18 or under on GOV.UK.

Find out about help and support while you’re staying at home because of COVID-19

You do not have to do a COVID-19 test

Free testing for COVID-19 from the NHS has ended for most people in England, so if you have symptoms of COVID-19, you are no longer required to do a rapid lateral flow or PCR test.

If you still want to get tested and you’re not eligible for a free NHS test, you must pay for a COVID-19 test yourself. You can buy a COVID-19 test from some pharmacies and shops in person or online.

Find out more about who can get a free NHS COVID-19 test

When to seek medical advice

Go to 111.nhs.uk, call 111 if:

  • you’re worried about your symptoms
  • your symptoms get worse
  • you’re not sure what to do

In an emergency, go to A&E immediately or call 999.

Call 111 if you’re worried about a baby or child under 5. If your child seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there’s something seriously wrong, call 999.

Get more advice about COVID-19 in children

How to avoid passing COVID-19 on to others

Do

  • try to work from home if you can – if you’re unable to work from home, ask your employer about options available to you
  • stay at home if you can – this helps reduce the number of people you have contact with
  • avoid contact with people at higher risk from COVID-19 for 10 days, especially if their immune system means they’re at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, even if they’ve had a COVID-19 vaccine
  • follow advice on how to avoid spreading COVID-19 to people you live with
  • let people who need to come into your home know that you’ve tested positive or have symptoms – they can then take steps to protect themselves, such as wearing a face covering that fits well, staying away from you as much as they can, and washing their hands regularly
  • contact your healthcare provider and tell them about your positive test result or symptoms if you’re asked to attend a medical or dental appointment in person
  • ask friends, family or neighbours to get food or other essentials for you

If you need to leave your home in the 5 days after your positive test result or while you’re feeling unwell, you can take steps to avoid spreading COVID-19.

Do

  • wear a face covering that fits snugly against your face and has more than 1 layer
  • avoid contact with people at higher risk from COVID-19, especially if their immune system means they’re at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, even if they’ve had a COVID-19 vaccine
  • avoid indoor or crowded places (including public transport or large social gatherings) or where there is not much fresh air
  • do any exercise outdoors and where you will not be in close contact with other people
  • avoid touching your face
  • cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough
  • wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use hand sanitiser, after you cough, sneeze or blow your nose, and before you eat and handle food

Government advice

For the latest up to date information on coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance see Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance and support.

Lambeth Council

For information from Lambeth Council see lambeth.gov.uk/elections-and-council/about-lambeth/coronavirus-covid-19-information