Coronavirus: Who should stay at home and for how long?

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we live, as strict restrictions have been placed on our movements to halt the spread of the disease.

The public have been told to stop non-essential contact and to stop all non-essential travel and certain people have been told to stay indoors at all times to "shield" themselves.

Here are some questions answered on the measures in place.

Who will this affect?

Members of the public have been told to stay at home and social distance to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

You can only leave your home for the following reasons:

  • To shop for basic necessities as infrequently as possible

  • To exercise once a day, alone or with members of your household

  • Any medical need or to help a vulnerable person

  • Travel to and from work, but only when you cannot work from home

Social distancing means staying more than 2 metres away from anyone, other than members of your household.

People over the age of 70, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions have been told to be stringent in following the social distancing measures.

Gatherings of more than two people have been banned in public spaces and pubs, restaurants, leisure centres and other venues have been shut to stop people from gathering together.

What is ‘whole household isolation’?

If you live with others and you start suffering coronavirus symptoms, you must stay at home for seven days from when the symptoms appear.

However other members of your household must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days, even if they are well and not displaying symptoms.

For anyone else in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for seven days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period.

You should not go out even to buy food or other essentials, other than exercise, and in that case at a safe distance from others.

The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in your house became ill.

If you are displaying coronavirus symptoms you should not leave the house. Credit: ITV News

What about people who live on their own?

The period of self-isolation for people who live on their own remains at seven days.

Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government’s chief scientific adviser, said: “If you are ill with symptoms of the new, persistent cough or fever you isolate for seven days.

"If you lived on your own, that’s what you would do.

“Now what we’re saying is if anybody in the household gets it, the whole household stays together isolated for 14 days.

"The reason for that is the other people may pick it up over five days or seven days and then they’ve got seven days to have it and get better.”

What does it mean for vulnerable people?

Around 1.5 million Brits who are classed as "extremely vulnerable" have been contacted by the NHS and urged to stay at home at all times, for at least 12 weeks.

This is a measure known as "shielding" and affects people, including children, who are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus.

People over the age of 70 have been told to stay at home. Credit: ITV News

Who are classed as 'extremely vulnerable'?

People who fall into the extremely vulnerable group include:

  • Organ transplant patients

  • People with certain cancers

  • People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD

  • People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism

  • People receiving certain drug treatments which suppress the immune system

  • Pregnant women with heart disease

If anyone who falls into this group is visited by carers and care workers, these visits should continue, but carers and anyone in the same household must follow social distancing measures stringently.

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know