Advice from Public Health England and Testing Information

Advice from Public Health England and Testing Information

As the Coronavirus pandemic continues, you will find the latest information from Public Health England here. This page will be updated as necessary.

Where can I find the latest information about coronavirus?

The situation is evolving rapidly. Staff and students are asked to continue to visit and regularly check the following websites for the latest updates and guidance: 

o Public Health England

o website

o Guidance for Educational settings

o Foreign and Commonwealth (FCO) office

What can I do to help reduce the spread of this virus?

Just like the common cold, the Coronavirus infection usually occurs through close contact with a person who has the infection or by touching contaminated surfaces if you do not wash your hands correctly. There are some simple things that you can do to prevent the spread of Coronavirus and look after yourself and those around you. Here are some guidelines to help you:

 Frequently clean hands by using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. You can see the correct way to clean your hands by clicking HERE.

 Viruses love warm, moist environments so avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

 When coughing and sneezing cover your mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw the tissue away immediately and wash your hands. ‘Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’.

Further advice and guidance can be accessed using the following links:

How is it possible to catch this virus?

COVID-19 is a new virus and, according to the NHS, we do not know exactly how it spreads from person to person. The most likely means of transmission are droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Infections are generally be spread by:  Secretions from the mouths or noses of people who are nearby (within two metres) or could be inhaled into the lungs.

 Touching a surface that has been contaminated with respiratory secretions and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes (such as a door knob or shaking hands then touching own face).

It is currently unclear whether people who do not have symptoms are infectious to others, but this is not believed to be a big risk. See above for precautionary measures you can take to help stop the virus from spreading

How do I know if I have got the virus?

Main symptoms

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms.

Use the 111 online coronavirus service if you have any of:

  • high temperature
  • new, continuous cough
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

111 will tell you what to do and help you get a test if you need one. Use the 111 online coronavirus service

Do I need to self-isolate?

Staying at home if you have symptoms (self-isolation)

If your symptoms are mild you must not to leave your home. This is called self-isolation.

  • Anyone with symptoms must self-isolate for 10 days from when their symptoms started.
  • Anyone who does not have symptoms must self-isolate for 14 days from when the first person in your home started having symptoms.

Self-isolate if:

  • you have any symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
  • you're waiting for a coronavirus test result
  • you've tested positive for coronavirus – this means you have coronavirus
  • you live with someone who has symptoms, is waiting for a test result or has tested positive

There is separate advice if you're told by NHS Test and Trace that you've been in contact with a person with coronavirus.

If you're self-isolating, you and anyone you live with must not leave your home.


  • do not go to work, school or public places – work from home if you can
  • do not go on public transport or use taxis
  • do not go out to get food and medicine – order it online or by phone, or ask someone to bring it to your home
  • do not have visitors in your home, including friends and family – except for people providing essential care
  • do not go out to exercise – exercise at home or in your garden, if you have one

What if I have a pre-existing medical condition or am particularly vulnerable?

We understand you may be concerned if you feel you are more vulnerable to the coronavirus than others (for example if you have a specific health condition or have vulnerable family members).

Public Health England defines underlying conditions as people with weakened immune systems and those with long-term conditions such as diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. If you are worried, members of staff should speak to their GP in the first instance.

We will support you as much as possible, based on any specific advice you have received from medical professionals, as well as general public health guidance. You should continue to follow Public Health England advice about the precautionary measures you can take to avoid catching the virus such as hand-washing (also see the NHS advice page), and ensure you are up to date with any prescriptions for medicines you usually take.

Further information

We have a number of dedicated pages with further information in the following areas:

Information for Staff

Advice from Public Health England

Testing Information

Safety Measures and walk-throughs

I still have questions, not answered here – what should I do?

We understand that you may have more questions so we ask you to please contact us on this email and we will be back in touch as soon as possible to respond to your questions.