Government and NHS advice

Latest advice and guidance on staying safe and well from GOV.UK and the NHS.


National lockdown from 4 January

From Monday 4 January, the country is in national lockdown: Stay at Home. Find out what this means on GOV.UK.

You must stay at home. The single most important action we can all take is to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

Under the new restrictions you must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary. You may leave the home to:

  • shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
  • go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
  • exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
  • meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
  • seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
  • attend education or childcare - for those eligible

Colleges, primary and secondary schools will remain open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until February half term. Early Years settings remain open.

Higher Education provision will remain online until mid February for all except future critical worker courses.

If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay local in the village, town, or part of the city where you live. You may leave your local area for a legally permitted reason, such as for work.

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. You should not attend work

Meeting others

You cannot leave your home to meet socially with anyone you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with (if you are legally permitted to form one).

You may exercise on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble.

You should not meet other people you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, unless for a permitted reason.

Stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household.

Please continue to follow Covid-19 rules and remember - 'Hands. Face. Space':

  • hands - wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds
  • face - wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet
  • space - stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors)

Self-isolate if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.

NHS COVID-19 app

The NHS COVID-19 app is the fastest way to see if you're at risk from Coronavirus

Keep up to date

► UK Government Coronavirus Information service on WhatsApp - free to use service aiming to provide official, trustworthy and timely information and advice about coronavirus (COVID-19)

Public health information

Public Health England (PHE) is working closely with NHS colleagues and Essex County Council to manage the situation and help reduce the risk of further cases.

Guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection - Public Health England advice

Test and trace service - those who have been in close contact with someone who tests positive must isolate for 14 days, even if they have no symptoms

Social distancing - staying alert and safe; guidance for everyone in the UK

Staying safe outside your home - new guidance for working, travelling and exercising

Working safely during coronavirus - the government, in consultation with industry, has produced guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible

►  NHS advice - NHS advice on the risks, the symptoms and what to do if you think you have coronavirus 

Travel advice - countries and areas affected and specific advice from the NHS  

Public Health England blog - PHE's  regularly updated coronavirus blog to help you find out what you need to know 

► Coronavirus updates from Essex County Council - latest information and news from ECC


Additional information

Guidance on making and wearing face coverings | ► Self-isolation - what it is and what it means | ► Contact tracing - what it is and what it means | ►Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can't do | ►Number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and risk in the UK - official figures