Self isolation guidance: When should you self isolate? How do you self isolate?

As coronavirus spreads, older people, those 70 and over, may be asked to reduce social contact, and will still be able to receive visits from uninfected family members. Professor Jason Leith, Scotland’s national clinical director said the groups of people most at risk will not be asked to self isolate in the same way as people who are showing symptoms.

He told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland: “It might be mosques, it might be churches, it might be bingo… and pubs.

“What we are not suggesting, unlike those with symptoms, is that those people would cut off family contact and not be able to receive visitors.

“In fact, quite the opposite, we expect family contact to increase in that group so that these people will be looked after. The last thing that we want is four months of loneliness.

“They are not going to be asked to stay at home, they are going to be asked to reduce social contact and to be careful and to use common sense.”


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When should you self isolate?

Anyone with flu-like symptoms – defined as a fever of above 37.8C or a persistent cough – is being advised to stay at home in self-isolation.

People who have travelled to an affected area, or who has been in close contact with an infected person, has already been told to self-isolate for 14 days.

Close contact is defined as spending 15 minutes within 2metres of someone who has the virus.

COVID-19 can cause a fever, cough and breathing problems and takes on average five days after infection for people to start showing symptoms.


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How do you self isolate?

Stay at home: Don’t leave your home unless it’s for medical care, and make sure to call ahead before you go out.

Say no to visitors and contact friends and family by phone. If you are someone who has food delivered to your home via online shopping, make sure delivery instructions state that the package should be left outside your doorstep, not handed over in person.

If you’re asking friends and family to bring things round, make sure to tell them the same/.

Separate yourself from other people: Stay in one room with the door closed, ideally one with a window or door you can open for fresh air.

Don’t share cutlery, glasses, bedding, towels or anything else which could transmit the virus.

Try to use dishwashers to wash up when possible, but if not, wash dishes by hand and dry with a separate tea towel.

Bedding, laundry and towels should be put into a separate plastic bag and only washed when coronavirus tests come back negative or your self isolation time is over.

Do not take anything to a launderette and if you must do laundry at home, make sure the water temperature is 60C plus.

Food and bathrooms: Have meals left outside your door if someone else is cooking for you.

If not, try to cook your food when nobody else is in the kitchen and take the food back to your room to eat.

If you live in shared accommodation, like student halls or a flat-share, then only leave your room when it is absolutely necessary and try to avoid using shared areas like kitchens and bathrooms when others are present.

If symptoms get worse: Get medical help immediately by calling NHS 111 – not going to your GP or walk-in centre in person.

If you find yourself having difficulty breathing, contact a medic straight away.

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