Staying at home if you have symptoms (self-isolation)
If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, do not leave your home for seven days from when your symptoms started. This action will help protect others in your community while you are infectious.
If you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all other household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.
Testing for people with symptoms
People who have symptoms of COVID-19 are now eligible to be tested for it. More information on testing in Northern Ireland is available from the Public Health Agency website.
After 7 days, or longer, if you still have symptoms other than cough or loss of sense of smell/taste, you must continue to self-isolate until you feel better.
You do not need to self-isolate if you only have a cough or loss of sense of smell/taste after 7 days, as these symptoms can last for several weeks after the infection has gone.
Further guidance on when you should end your self-isolation period is available on the gov.uk website
Ways to make staying at home more manageable
While staying at home it can be helpful to:
- use delivery services, if possible, to deliver things like food shopping and medicines
- order repeat prescriptions by phone or online and ask your pharmacy about getting your medication delivered
- think of other ways to keep in contact with people
- develop a daily routine -get up at the same time as normal and plan how you will spend your day – cooking, reading, tidying, watching TV
- listen to the radio or an audio book if your home feels too quiet
- get as much fresh air as possible
If possible try and build some physical activity into your daily routine such as cleaning or just getting up and walking about the house.
Looking after your mental wellbeing
You may find that social distancing and staying at home can be boring, frustrating or lonely and that your mood and feelings are affected.
You may feel low, worried or have problems sleeping and you might miss being with other people.
There is advice and guidance if about how to look after your mental wellbeing:
NHS 111 service
You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after seven days, contact NHS 111 online(external link opens in a new window / tab).
If you have no internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.
A remote interpreting service for British Sign Language (BSL) and Irish Sign Language (ISL) users in Northern Ireland has been introduced to provide access to NHS 111 and Health and Social Care services during the COVID-19 pandemic. More information is available on the Health Services page.
Advice for blind and partially sighted people
RNIB NI and Guide Dogs have put together advice for blind and partially sighted people during the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes contact information and advice on how to get support in your local community.