For the latest information see nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
COVID-19 is an illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus. If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or if you have tested positive for coronavirus, try to stay at home and avoid contact with others.
COVID-19 vaccination is an important part of protecting yourself if you’re at increased risk from severe COVID-19.
If you’re eligible for a seasonal COVID vaccination, you can get your vaccination from clinics by going to a walk-in COVID-19 vaccination site, without needing an appointment.
You may be contacted by a local NHS service, such as your GP surgery, to get a vaccine for you or your child. This is usually done by text or phone call, but you may sometimes get a letter or a notification in the NHS App.
If you live in a care home and you are eligible, staff at your care home will arrange your vaccination for you.
What to do if you have symptoms
Try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you:
- have any symptoms of COVID-19, and have a high temperature or you do not feel well enough to go to work or do your normal activities
- have tested positive for COVID-19 – this means it’s very likely you have the virus
You should avoid being in close contact with people at higher risk from COVID-19.
This is particularly important if their immune system means they’re at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, even if they’ve had a COVID-19 vaccine.
There’s further advice if you’re eligible for COVID-19 treatments.
Testing for COVID-19
Free testing for COVID-19 from the NHS has ended for most people in England.
You may still be able to get free COVID-19 rapid lateral flow tests from the NHS if you work in healthcare settings or in a hospice, or if you have a health condition which means you are eligible for COVID-19 treatment
If you’re eligible for free rapid lateral flow tests, you can now collect them from a local pharmacy. This has replaced the online and telephone ordering services for free rapid lateral flow tests provided by GOV.UK and NHS 119. Most of Lambeth’s 63 community pharmacies offer this service. The pharmacy may ask you about your medical history to confirm you’re eligible for free tests.
How to check if a pharmacy offers free tests in the find a pharmacy service
- Type your postcode, which will bring up a list of local pharmacies.
- Select a pharmacy.
- Click ‘Treatments and services’ at the top of the page.
- Go to the ‘Screening and test services’ section – if the pharmacy is offering free tests, it will say ‘COVID-19 lateral flows tests (eligible NHS patients)’.
If you still want to get tested and you’re not eligible for a free NHS test, you’ll need to pay for a COVID-19 test yourself. You can buy a COVID-19 test from pharmacies and some shops in person or online.
When to seek medical advice
Go to 111.nhs.uk, call 111 if:
- you’re worried about your symptoms
- your symptoms get worse
- you’re not sure what to do
In an emergency, go to A&E immediately or call 999.
Call 111 if you’re worried about a baby or child under 5. If your child seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there’s something seriously wrong, call 999.
How to avoid passing COVID-19 on to others
- try to work from home if you can – if you’re unable to work from home, ask your employer about options available to you
- stay at home if you can – this helps reduce the number of people you have contact with
- avoid contact with people at higher risk from COVID-19 for 10 days, especially if their immune system means they’re at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, even if they’ve had a COVID-19 vaccine
- follow advice on how to avoid spreading COVID-19 to people you live with
- let people who need to come into your home know that you’ve tested positive or have symptoms – they can then take steps to protect themselves, such as wearing a face covering that fits well, staying away from you as much as they can, and washing their hands regularly
- contact your healthcare provider and tell them about your positive test result or symptoms if you’re asked to attend a medical or dental appointment in person
- ask friends, family or neighbours to get food or other essentials for you
If you need to leave your home while you’re feeling unwell, you can take steps to avoid spreading COVID-19.
- wear a face covering that fits snugly against your face and has more than 1 layer
- avoid contact with people at higher risk from COVID-19, especially if their immune system means they’re at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, even if they’ve had a COVID-19 vaccine
- avoid indoor or crowded places (including public transport or large social gatherings) or where there is not much fresh air
- do any exercise outdoors and where you will not be in close contact with other people
- avoid touching your face
- cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough
- wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use hand sanitiser, after you cough, sneeze or blow your nose, and before you eat and handle food
For the latest up to date information on coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance see Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance and support
South east London
For the latest up to date information on coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccinations in south east London see Winter vaccinations – NHS South East London (selondonics.org)
For information from Lambeth Council see lambeth.gov.uk/elections-and-council/about-lambeth/coronavirus-covid-19-information