Coronavirus - COVID-19

Help for people who are self-isolating

As well as the information below, we have produced a general advice leaflet for anyone struggling to cope. This can be printed off to be shared with friends and family who may not be able to access this information online.

Download the general advice leaflet

Making sure those who have COVID-19 (and those who have been in close contact with them) self-isolate is one of our most powerful tools for controlling the spread of coronavirus.

Who should self-isolate?

From 16 August, those who are fully vaccinated (14 days after their final dose) will no longer be required to self-isolate if they are a close contact of a positive case. Close contacts who are fully vaccinated will be advised, as of now, to take a PCR test as soon as possible, so that they can have certainty about their condition

In line with the approach for adults, anyone under the age of 18 who is a close contact of a positive case will no longer need to self-isolate. Instead, they will be given advice about whether to get tested, dependent on their age and will need to self-isolate only if they test positive. In most cases, individuals will be advised to take a PCR test.  These measures will also come into force on 16 August, ahead of the autumn school term.

Find out more about self-isolating on the government's website.

What does self-isolating mean?

Self-isolating means you must not leave your house:

  • 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

Get support if you’re clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Shielding has ended in England. Read the guidance for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable for what you should do now. It has information about:

  • social distancing from people you do not live with (even after you’ve had the vaccine)
  • working safely

Help and support with getting food and medicine

The government’s service that helped you get priority access to supermarket deliveries has now closed.

If you’ve already got priority access to supermarket deliveries, you’ll keep it up to 21 June.

If someone else is going to the shops for you, most major supermarkets have ways you can pay for your shopping, such as e-vouchers or gift cards. You can buy these online and the person shopping for you can use them in store. To find out about payment options, visit your supermarket’s website.

Good neighbour schemes

If you have no other support with your shopping, we have a network of volunteer-led local good neighbour schemes, who might be able to assist you with shopping, collecting medication and checking that you are OK. You can contact them directly for support by emailing or calling 01234 838771.

Find out more about good neighbour schemes in Bedfordshire.

NHS volunteer responders

Alternatively, the NHS volunteer responders are also there to support you with shopping. You can choose what products you want and when you want them, and an NHS volunteer responder will then pick up and deliver your shopping to you. NHS volunteer responders can also pick up other essentials you need. You can call them on 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm, 7 days a week) to arrange NHS volunteer support.

Find out how to get support from an NHS volunteer responder.

If you're clinically extremely vulnerable and none of these are available, you'll be eligible for free medicines delivery. Please contact your pharmacy to inform them that you are clinically extremely vulnerable and need your medicines delivered, and they will arrange this free of charge.

If you do go to a shop yourself, remember to keep safe by social distancing, wear a face covering and wash your hands regularly, particularly when you get home.

Financial support if you are isolating

The government has introduced a new grant to support people in work on low incomes to self-isolate.

You may be able to claim a £500 lump sum payment if you cannot work from home and are required to self-isolate.

You can find out more about this and how to apply on the Test and Trace Support Payment page.

Changes to the Test and Trace support payment for parents

The Department for Education has announced that parents and carers of children, who have been advised to self-isolate by their education setting or by NHS Test and Trace, are now able to apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment, or a discretionary payment of £500, if they meet the eligibility criteria. 

The extension of the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme ensures that parents receive the financial support they need if they are unable to attend work due to childcare responsibilities. 

If you are a parent or carer, apply here in order to receive a payment.

Mental health and wellbeing if you are isolating

Life can be very different at the moment and hard in many ways. Visit the government's website for practical steps you can take to look after your mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Find out how we can help with mental health and wellbeing support.

How to stay safe when accepting help from others

Please refer to GOV.UK guidance on staying at home.

If you are receiving voluntary help do not share financial details like credit/debit card numbers or personal information.

If someone you don’t know calls at your home, always ask for ID and always ensure you are comfortable sharing details like your phone number or address. Only provide information on a need to know basis and if you have seen ID. Do not feel pressured into providing information. If you have doubts about those who are approaching you, and are concerned, it is advised that you don’t engage, and report serious suspicious behaviour to the police.

Remember that genuine volunteers have been instructed not to enter your home.