Coronavirus – front cover of the government's stay-at-home leaflet – 15-4-20.

What to do to help stop the spread of coronavirus, including information on symptoms and government support.

Coronavirus – main government guidelines updated on 29th April 2020.

Handy list of the main government guidelines. Click graphic.

By Peter Mann – using information from the government’s website

Before we begin… because there’s so much information on the coronavirus pandemic, I’ve confined this page to key information, local where appropriate, and provided links to where you will find more details.  Do let me know, please, if I’ve missed anything or if there are any errors.  Thank you.

1.  What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
2.  Do as the government says – stay at home.
3.  How can one avoid catching and spreading coronavirus?
4.  What to do if you’re at high risk.
5.  What to do if you or someone close to you has caught it.
6.  What to do if you haven’t got it.

About Covid-19

Catch bin kill – coronavirus poster. Very sound advice.

Very sound advice.

Coronavirus – Covid-19 – is a new illness which can affect your lungs and airways.

The virus is spread from person to person – through cough / sneeze droplets.  These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.  The WHO has more on this.

To minimise coronavirus spreading, the government has said everyone must stay at homeThe PM’s TV speech, 23rd March.

Helping hands graphic.

There are many helping hands in Hatley.

Contact the Gamlingay and Hatley Coronavirus Support Group if you are self isolating and require help with essential food shopping, collecting a prescription from the local chemist, would like your dog taken for a walk or want a friendly chat.

Greensands Medical Practice has suspended all pre-booked face to face appointments with its GPs – appointments will be automatically converted into telephone consultations.

Full details of this and other key points, including prescriptions, are on the practice’s website.

Coronavirus regularly wash your hands for at least 20 seconds – poster.

Please do as it says.

Currently, there is no treatment for coronavirus – antibiotics do not help as they do not work against viruses.

While your body fights the illness, essentially all you can do is stay in isolation and away from other people until you have recovered.

If you have a medical condition which makes you extremely vulnerable to coronavirus, you can get advice and register for support on a government website – very helpful for things like shopping.

Shopping   The government has provided supermarkets with a list of ‘extremely vulnerable’ people whose data they will match to their own customer database.  Some supermarkets have acted on this very quickly (Waitrose is one), while others are helping in different ways.

The Disability Rights UK website has links to all the major stores (scroll down the page) – and much other useful information.

  • Citizens Advice also has lots of useful information.
  • And the Top Gear website has some sound advice on how to look after your car while it’s not being used.
  • Businesses and venues  More government information – all you could want to know about businesses and venues which should be closed, which can be open, what you can do working from home and much else.

The symptoms of coronavirus

The NHS says:

Do not leave your home if you have coronavirus symptoms (below).
Do not leave your home if you have either:

    • A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature).
    • A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual).
    • To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

Use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do. Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

Why you must stay at home

You must stay at home to stop coronavirus spreading.

You should only leave your house for one of four reasons:

    • Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicines – it must be as infrequently as possible.
    • One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household.
    • Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
    • Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.


The four reasons are exceptions – even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are two metres / six feet (three steps) apart from anyone outside of your household.

    • It is against the law leave home to visit friends or relations – or have them visit you.

How can one avoid catching and spreading coronavirus?

First, what the government is calling ‘social distancing’ (‘people distancing’ would be a better phrase) is something we should all do to help stop coronavirus spreading, particularly keeping away from those with ‘underlying health issues’ and:

The do’s and don’ts


    • Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds.
    • Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
    • Always wash your hands as soon as you get back home.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.
    • Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards.


    • Touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
    • Have visitors to your home, including friends and family.

What to do if you’re at high risk

Stay as calm as possible.  The NHS will contact you if you are known to be at particularly high risk of getting seriously ill with coronavirus.  You’ll be given specific advice about what to do.  (As contacting started on 23rd March, the NHS should have already been in touch.)

    • Do not contact your GP or healthcare team at this stage – wait to be contacted.

Who is at risk?
You may be at a particularly high risk of getting seriously ill with coronavirus if you:

    • Have had an organ transplant and are taking immunosuppressant medicine.
    • Are having chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
    • Have blood or bone marrow cancer, such as leukaemia.
    • Have a severe chest condition, such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma.
    • Have another serious health condition.
    • On 17th April, the government issued this guidance on shielding the extremely vulnerable.

What to do if you or someone close to you has caught it

Stay as calm as possible.

    • If you get coronavirus symptoms (temperature, continuous cough) – or someone you live with does – do not leave your home for any reason, other than to exercise once a day – but stay at least two metres / six feet / three steps away from other people.
    • Do not go out to buy food or collect medicines – order them by phone or online, or ask someone else to drop them off at your home.
    • Do not have visitors, such as friends and family, in your home.
    • You can use your garden, if you have one.


    • If you have symptoms of coronavirus, you’ll need to self-isolate for seven days.
    • After self-isolation, you’ll still need to stay at home, but you can go out for essential trips such as buying food.
    • Check the NHS ‘stay at home’ advice for information on living with a ‘vulnerable’ person and how to reduce the spread of infection in your home.
    • You must stay at home for 14 days if someone in your family and who is living with you has coronavirus symptoms.

Being off work

Get an isolation note to give to your employer.

    • If you live with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus, you can get an isolation note to send to your employer as proof you need to stay off work.
    • You do not need to get a note from a GP.

What to do if you haven’t got it

Stay calm, be sensible and follow government advice – especially about washing hands and keeping six feet or so (two metres / three steps) away from other people.

    • Volunteer to be part of the Gamlingay and Hatley Coronavirus Support Group, which is helping local (including Hatley) people during self isolation.
    • Go for walks and bike rides – enjoy the great outdoors (this is where living in Hatley has its advantages!).
    • Create a vegetable patch in your garden – who knows how scarce ‘common’ veg may become.
    • Clean your car(s), caravan, bikes, outdoor furniture.
    • Mow a neighbour’s lawn (but ask them first).
    • Paint your house.

Any other ideas? Please e-mail them to Peter Mann so they can be added to the list.

Page created 27th March 2020; updated 29th April 2020.