COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

National lockdown: stay at home

The government has announced a national lockdown from Tuesday 5th January 2021 and instructed people to stay at home to control the virus, protect the NHS and save lives.

  •  You must stay at home. This is the single most important action we can all take to protect the NHS and save lives.
  •  You must not leave your home unless necessary.
  •  Stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household or bubble.

How to self-isolate

To reduce the spread of COVID-19, everyone who tests positive must self-isolate at home. This can save lives. You must not leave your home if you're self-isolating.


  • do not go to work, school or public places – work from home if you can
  • do not go on public transport or use taxis
  • do not go out to get food and medicine – order it online or by phone, or ask someone to bring it to your home
  • do not have visitors in your home, including friends and family – except for people providing essential care
  • do not go out to exercise – exercise at home or in your garden, if you have one

How long to self-isolate

If you have symptoms or have tested positive for coronavirus, you’ll usually need to self-isolate for at least 10 days.

You’ll usually need to isolate for 10 days if:

  • Someone you live with has symptoms or tested positive
  • Someone in your support bubble has symptoms or tested positive
  • You have been told to self-isolate by NHS Track and Trace

This graphic explains how self-isolation works if someone in a household has Covid-19 symptoms:

Covid-19 isolation graph

How to avoid spreading coronavirus to people you live with

If you are self-isolating because of coronavirus, there are things you can do to reduce the chances of spreading any infection to the people you live with. If you have symptoms, you should stay away from other people you live with as much as possible.

If you can:

  • stay on your own in one room as much as possible and keep the door closed
  • avoid using shared spaces (such as the kitchen) at the same time as other people – eat your meals in your room
  • use a separate bathroom - otherwise, use the bathroom after everyone else and clean it each time you use it, for example, by wiping the surfaces you've touched

How to reduce the spread of infection in your home


  • wash your hands with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • 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
  • clean objects and surfaces you touch often (such as door handles, kettles and phones) using your regular cleaning products
  • consider wearing a face covering when in shared spaces
  • keep windows open in the room you're staying in and shared spaces as much as possible


  • do not share towels, including hand towels and tea towels

Returning to your normal routine

If you remain well, you can return to your normal routine at the end of the 10-day period. You do not need to isolate for longer than 10 days, even if other household members develop symptoms during this period.

However, the person with new symptoms should now self-isolate for 10 days. People in the household who remain well after 10 days are unlikely to be infectious.

Further self-isolation guidance is available here.

The best protection against any virus is:


  • 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
  • wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell


  • Touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

What are the signs and symptoms?

The best place to find up to date information about coronavirus including what it is can be found here.

The infection is mild for most people, including children. Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease) may be at higher risk of more serious illness.

Where should I go for the most up to date information?

For up to date information about the current UK situation please go here.

What is the current position for schools?

The latest information on Schools can be found here.

The DfE has set up a helpline offering guidance for anyone with education related questions: 0800 046 8687 (Mon-Fri 8am-6pm) or

What shall I do if my child becomes ill?

The Covid-19 outbreak is a particularly worrying time for families and it can be confusing where to seek advice from when children become ill. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health have developed some new resources to support parents/carers. These include:

  1. A clear helpful guide for accessing advice and help if a child is unwell (particularly important as there may be confusion where to take children in the current situation).
  2. Webpages with specific information about different conditions such as autism, diabetes, cancer, epilepsy and more, information on staying at home with children, medicines advice, guidance on visiting hospital and ways to discuss the current situation.

If your child has a medical condition or injury, it is important that they should continue to access treatment and attend medical appointments as recommended by their hospital, GP or healthcare professionals.

There is also some helpful wellbeing advice if you are supporting children and young people at this time.

I don’t receive support from adult social care but think I might need help now. What do I do?

Please contact our Adult Social Care Team on 0121 704 8007 or email and we will work with you to organise the support you require.

You can visit our website for information and advice, including information about community groups that might be able to support you.

My 85 year old relative is about to be discharged from hospital. What are you doing to support people once they leave hospital?

NHS and social work staff will agree with your relative (and family members) what care and support they need after leaving hospital. This care and support will be put in place so your relative can be discharged from hospital. This will happen as quickly as possible so that our hospitals are ready to look after people who contract coronavirus (COVID-19) and need hospital care.

Most people will return home. For a smaller number this means going to a temporary bed in a care home. This gives time for them to recover further with a view to them returning home or for further assessments to be completed.

If your relative goes home with support, staff from NHS University Hospitals Birmingham Community Health Services and the Council’s Adult Care and Support team will phone, or in some cases visit, them to ensure the service is appropriate. This will usually happen within the first 24 hours. At this time we will consider any changes or additional support that may be needed and ensure this is implemented.

Initial services will be considered short term and, when your relative’s needs have stabilised, we will work with them to develop a long term plan.

Can I visit my relative in a care home at the moment?

Visits to people living in care homes are currently reduced in line with national guidance.  You can find the latest information here

What can I do to stay fit at home?

It is important to look after your physical and mental health at this time by staying active, connecting with people, deciding your routine, getting as much sunlight, fresh air and nature as you can, knowing where to access support and finding ways to relax and be creative. Here is some useful guidance.

I’m worried about my mental health because of coronavirus, what can I do?

You might be worried about coronavirus and how it could affect your life, the NHS’s on-line guide gives lots of tips and advice to looking after your mental health during COVID.

A new mental health support service has launched by the local NHS for the following groups:

  • 0-18 year olds in Birmingham
  • 0-19 year olds in Solihull
  • Over 18s in Birmingham and Solihull
  • Key workers.

The services, which are provided by a range of local organisations, offer emotional help, guidance and reassurance to people in Birmingham and Solihull who may be finding the current situation we are living with overwhelming. Find out more about how to access it here.

MIND also has some information to help you cope covering the following:

MIND’s Infoline provides an information and signposting service and is open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays). Call on 0300 123 3393.

Samaritans has gathered some resources that maybe helpful and are committed to helping those who are struggling however they can.

Call Samaritans free, day or night, 365 day a year on 116 123.

How can I stay active during this time?

We're all now spending a lot more time at home and that means it’s getting harder to keep active. We have put together some ideas and tips to help you and your family get active at home, if well enough.

Coronavirus is making me anxious, how can I keep calm?

Try to avoid speculation and refer to trusted sources (such as ) on the outbreak. Rumor and speculation can create anxiety and accessing good quality information about the virus can help you feel more in control.

Keep in regular contact with friends and family by phone, video calling or social media.
Be aware of and avoid increasing habits that may not be helpful in the long term, like smoking and drinking.

Things are getting tough at home, what can I do?

This is a challenging time for everyone as we are required to spend extensive time in our homes. If you feel unsafe at home and are concerned about the behaviour of a partner, ex-partner or family member, there is information, advice and help available.

In an emergency you should ring 999.

If you are on a low income and will struggle to meet your financial obligations as a result of self-isolating, you may be entitled to a self-isolation payment- for more information, or to make an application, visit our webpage or call us on 0121 704 8200 where a Customer Services advisor will assist you with making an application.

For more information about self-isolation

For more information and advice about self-isolating, please visit the Government website:

Or call us on 0121 704 6892.

For the latest information on the coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine in Solihull and Birmingham please visit the local vaccine website here.

The website includes information about vaccination centres and what to expect at the appointment as well as frequently asked questions about the vaccine.

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If you have a question about how the coronavirus may affect you, your family or your business please get in touch.

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Answers to the most common questions we receive will be included on this page.