The latest coronavirus information and advice is available from:
Living with COVID strategy
In England, COVID-19 restrictions have been removed as part of the government’s plan for living with COVID-19.
The legal requirement for people to self-isolate following a positive test has been removed. Contact tracing has ended and close contacts, regardless of vaccination status, are no longer required to self-isolate or advised to take daily tests.
From 24 February, workers are not legally obliged to tell their employers when they are required to self-isolate.
From 1 April, testing has ended for most people. Symptomatic and asymptomatic testing will continue in some high-risk settings and for some in groups considered at high risk of serious illness if infected with COVID-19.
Self-isolation support payments, national funding for practical support and the medicine delivery service have ended. People who were instructed to self-isolate before this date will still be able to claim support payments until 6 April 2022.
It is no longer mandatory for venues to require attendees to demonstrate their COVID-19 status.
From 19 January, you are no longer asked to work from home if you can. Talk to your employer to agree arrangements to return to your workplace.
You can find the latest advice and guidance at www.gov.uk/coronavirus
Managing the risks of spreading and catching COVID-19
You can still reduce the risk of catching and passing on COVID-19 by following the safe behaviours that have become familiar during the pandemic.
You are encouraged to:
- wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed places to help reduce the spread of coronavirus
- wash or sanitise your hands often
- let fresh air in if you meet indoors; meeting outdoors is safer
- take a rapid lateral flow test before you socialise, particularly if you are meeting vulnerable people
- get vaccinated to protect yourself and others against COVID-19
- stay at home if you’re unwell
Wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces, especially where you come into contact with people you do not usually meet. For further information visit: Face coverings when to wear one and how to make your own.
Face coverings are particularly encouraged in health and care settings, for example in care homes, hospitals, GP surgeries, and pharmacies.
Hospitality and entertainment
- NHS COVID passes showing vaccine status or a recent negative test will no longer be compulsory to gain entry to venues and events, however some venues may choose to request this evidence to reduce risk for attendees and staff. You will be able to show vaccination status, a recent negative test or exemption through the NHS Covid Pass. You can access your NHS COVID Pass through the NHS Covid-19 app, NHS.UK, or as a letter that can be requested by ringing NHS 119. Learn more on the government website.
- Hospitality venues such as pubs, restaurants and bars are not required to provide table service or follow other social distancing rules
You may wish to do rapid lateral flow tests on days when you’re more likely to catch or spread COVID-19, for example, do a test before you:
- mix with people in crowded indoor places
- visit someone who is at higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19
- attend large events, from concerts to weddings – all large events carry an added risk of spreading coronavirus
Certain places such as health and social care settings, schools and prisons are likely to have their own specific testing rules and guidance. You should continue to follow testing guidance for those settings.
From 1 April, free symptomatic and asymptomatic testing has ended for most people. Symptomatic and asymptomatic testing will continue in some high-risk settings and for some in groups considered at high risk of serious illness if infected with COVID-19. Further details on which groups will be eligible.
Consider the risks when meeting people you do not usually live with. You might choose to limit close contact or use lateral flow tests before and after being in close contact with others.
There are no limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, civil partnerships, funerals and other life events (including receptions and celebrations). There is no requirement for table service at life events, or restrictions on singing or dancing.
The vaccines are safe and effective. Getting fully vaccinated is the best way of protecting you and others against COVID-19.
If you have not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s not too late. Find out more about how to get vaccinated in Portsmouth.
Stay at home if you’re unwell
If you feel unwell, stay at home until you feel better and reduce the risk that you will pass on an illness to your friends, colleagues, and others in your community. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, to help reduce the spread, you are advised to stay home for five days and avoid contact with anyone, including those who live in the same household. The first five days is when you are most infectious.
Travelling (within the UK or abroad)
- When travelling, choose to wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you may come into contact with other people you do not normally meet, like shops, cinemas, and on public transport. For further information visit Face coverings when to wear one and how to make your own.
- Travel safely and plan your journeys – sanitise hands, wear a face covering where required, and keep your distance where possible.
- If travelling to countries within the UK, check the COVID-19 rules of the country you are visiting
If you’re travelling from and to England during coronavirus (COVID-19), there are things you need to do before you travel and after you arrive. Use this online travel guidance to find out what you need to do.
Clinically extremely vulnerable
If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, you are advised to follow the same guidance as everyone else. However, because clinically extremely vulnerable people are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, you may wish to think particularly carefully about taking precautions when meeting others you do not usually meet with in order to reduce the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19. For example, you could:
- meet outside if possible – the particles containing the virus that causes COVID-19 are quickly blown away which makes it less likely that they will be breathed in by another person
- make sure the space is well ventilated if you meet inside; open windows and doors or take other action to let in plenty of fresh air. For more information, read the national guidance about COVID-19 ventilation of indoor spaces
- consider whether you and those you are meeting have been vaccinated – you might want to wait until 14 days after your second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before being in close contact with others
- wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face
- consider continuing to practice social distancing if that feels right for you and your friends
- asking friends and family to take a lateral flow test before visiting you
You are encouraged to go outside for exercise and can do so freely now.
These precautions are included in the guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable
Stay home for at least five days if you have any of the following symptoms:
- a high temperature
- a new, continuous cough
- a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste
If you have COVID-19 symptoms, avoid contact with other people, especially anyone in an at-risk group.
Find out more information about how to self-isolate, what you can and can’t do and what local support is available on our self-isolation page.
NHS 111 Mental Health Triage Service
Are you, or someone you know, experiencing a crisis and need urgent mental health support? Call 111 or visit the NHS 111 website and speak to the NHS Mental Health Triage Service. If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, please call 999.
We know that many factors can influence our physical and psychological wellbeing. There are many options available to help you keep healthy and happy:
- Every Mind Matters – visit the NHS Every Mind Matters. There are simple things we can all do to look after our mental health and wellbeing – take the NHS Every Mind Matters (one you) quiz to get started today with a free plan, expert advice and practical tips.
- Positive Minds is a service for anyone who is experiencing low mood, anxiety or a feeling of hopelessness. You can call 023 9282 7495 to get help by telephone, Monday to Thursday 9.30am–4.30pm and Friday 9.30am–4pm, or visit the PositiveMinds website to find out more about the service.
- Solent Mind has a variety of support and resources available to help if you’re feeling anxious or low. Visit the Solent Mind website for more information. They’ve also got an out-of-hours helpline for anyone who is experiencing poor mental health or wellbeing challenges as a result of coronavirus. Call 023 8017 9049 Monday to Friday 8am–9am and 5pm–8pm, and Saturday and Sunday 9am–5pm.
- NHS 111 Mental Health Triage Service – call 111 or visit the NHS 111 website.
- Five steps to mental wellbeing – visit the NHS website ‘5 steps to mental wellbeing‘. Evidence suggests there are five steps you can take to improve your mental health and wellbeing.
- If you are self-isolating – read advice from mental health charity MIND on managing your mental health in relation to coronavirus and self-isolating.
Coronavirus crisis card
This guide lists services and support that is available right now to help, listen and support you during the ongoing pandemic. Take a look at the crisis card.
Losing a loved one is very difficult. It can feel even harder during the pandemic. HIVE Portsmouth have added a bereavement directory on the HIVE Portsmouth website. The directory provides details of organisations who can assist with advice, information and support to help you deal with both the practical side of losing someone and cope with your feelings of grief.
Visit HIVE Portsmouth for more information.
Misinformation and disinformation
We are all curious to understand our world and stay up to date with the latest news. We do this is by finding out and sharing information. This may be anything from official communications from government and local councils. It may be news articles and messages from vloggers, podcasters and social media influencers. Friends and family also share information with us on social media or messaging apps. But some is fact and some is not.
Disinformation can be dangerous
All news spreads fast like a virus, especially if it’s exciting. The sheer volume of information we see, along with the speed at which it’s shared, is now being called an ‘infodemic’.
But there is a difference between sharing useful information and entertaining stories and sharing misinformation.
Misinformation – even if unintentional – can still be dangerous.
Disinformation is deliberately misleading and serves a specific agenda – one which you may not even agree with.
Help stop the spread
Just as we can protect against COVID-19 with handwashing, physical distancing and wearing face masks, we can slow down the spread of misinformation and disinformation by practising ‘information hygiene’. Before sharing something, ask yourself these simple questions:
- How does this make me feel?
- Why am I sharing this?
- How do I know if it’s true?
- Where did it come from?
- Whose agenda might I be supporting by sharing it?
And if you know something is false, or if it makes you angry, just ignore it. Don’t be tempted to share to debunk it or make fun of it as this just spreads the misinformation or disinformation further.
‘Play the game’ – learn how to reduce your susceptibility to fake news
A new 5–7-minute game developed by the University of Cambridge, Go Viral!, helps you learn to spot and avoid the basics of online manipulation in the era of coronavirus. It’s a simple guide to common techniques: using emotionally charged language to stoke outrage and fear, deploying fake experts to sow doubt, and mining conspiracies for social media likes.
Where to find reliable information on COVID-19
- Portsmouth City Council’s COVID-19 update webpage
- The UK Government’s latest COVID-19 information and guidance
- The World Health Organization.
Remember, though: information will change as we learn more about the virus.
Learn more about how you can report misinformation online.
Council service information
For more information about how coronavirus is affecting council services, visit the coronavirus page.