What is the Covid guidance on isolating and going to work or school?

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Words by ITV News Digital Journalist Jocelyn Evans

Since April 1 2022, the focus of the UK government has been on treating Covid-19 as if it's any other respiratory infection, like flu or a common cold.

That's meant free testing has been scrapped for the majority of people across the country, and updated guidance on what to do if you have coronavirus symptoms or if you've tested positive

How do I know if I've got Covid?

The symptoms of Covid and other respiratory infections have becoming increasingly similar as variants of the virus mutate - and people are protected from serious illness by vaccinations.

A temperature, lack of energy, sore throat, headache and feeling sick are among some of the symptoms, the full list is here.

From April 1, those not classed as vulnerable have had to pay for a lateral flow test in order to find out if they have the virus or not.

On July 1, Northern Ireland's department of health announced that, amid rising infections, it would extended lateral flow testing to members of the public with Covid symptoms.

In Scotland, England and Wales, some people can still get them for free, all the details are here.

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What do I do if I have Covid?

There are now no rules on isolating in the UK if you get Covid, only guidance.

The government says if you have Covid symptoms, and a high temperature or do not feel well enough to carry on as normal, try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people.

You can still leave your home, but guidance recommends wearing a face covering, avoiding crowded spaces, avoiding exercise indoors or in crowded spaces, covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze, and washing hands.

The same advice stands for avoiding giving others you live with your infection, as well as opening windows for ventilation and regularly cleaning surfaces.

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Many people with Covid will no longer be infectious after five days so if you do buy and take a test that comes back positive, try to stay home for the full five days.

Even after that time, some people stay infectious for up to 10 days after testing positive, so you should still avoid vulnerable people.Can children and young people still go into schools and nurseries?

The government does now recommend children and young people are tested for Covid-19 unless directed to do so by a health professional.

If a child does test positive, they're advised to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for three days after testing, if they can.

Guidance says after that point youngsters are at low risk of passing the infection of if they feel well and have a normal temperature.

Children and young people should continue to attend their educational setting, even if somebody they live with has Covid.

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Youngsters with mild symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, or slight cough, who are otherwise well, can continue to attend their education setting if they've not taken a test or are testing negative.

"Attending education is hugely important for children and young people’s health and their future," the government says on its website.

For those more unwell, with a high temperature, staying at home and avoiding contact with others is advised until the temperature passes.

What if my child is getting really sick?

It can be difficult to know when to seek help if your child is unwell, the government guidance says.

It advises if you are worried about your child, especially if they are aged under two years old, then you should seek medical help.

Read the new guidance in full on the government website here.