Coronavirus: Confused by when you need to ask the NHS for help? The 3 key things you should know

Joe Gamp
Contributor, Yahoo News UK

People with even minor respiratory tract infections or fever are now being asked to self-isolate as coronavirus continues to spread. (PA)

The government’s advice on what to do during the coronavirus outbreak has attracted widespread criticism - leaving many confused by fast changing health guidelines.

Boris Johnson has been issuing daily updates on measures to tackle the spread of Covid-19 since 16 March.

But many have been asking questions as to effectiveness and urgency of his measures - as the government mulls over issues such as the shutdown of the hospitality industry, school closures and the period of self-isolation for anyone who suspects they have contracted the illness.

Johnson said the capital London was “weeks ahead” of the rest of the country in terms of the number of confirmed cases.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Boris Johnson and chief scientific officer Patrick Vallance speak at a No.10 press briefing. (PA)

The prime minister has so far not directly ordered bars, pubs, clubs and theatres to shut down, with many proprietors confused as to the future of their businesses.

He told a Downing Street news conference the number of coronavirus cases in the UK could now double every five or six days without "drastic action".

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At present, the government has largely issued “guidance” on staying at home and avoiding crowds.

A graph showing the number of global coronavirus cases. (PA)

Entire families – or households of more than one person – were previously told to stay isolated together for 14 days if one of them displays symptoms such as a persistent cough or fever.

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But now Britons are being told to isolate for at least seven days if they develop a “new and continuous” cough – even “if it is mild”.

The new NHS new guidelines, released on Thursday, outline three key measures you should know about to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

The guidance states: “If you have a high temperature or a new and continuous cough - even if mild, stay at home and follow the specialist medical advice at

“Only call NHS 111 if you are unable to get online, you have been instructed to do so or your symptoms worsen.

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“Call 999 if you have a life-threatening emergency, make sure you tell the call adviser if you have coronavirus symptoms.”

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