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Coronavirus: How do you self-isolate successfully?

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Coronavirus: How do you self-isolate successfully?

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People can stay at home for two weeks if they have close contact with a coronavirus carrier

Many more people may be asked to isolate themselves to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the UK, warned the NHS. But what do you need to do if you are at risk?

More than 80 people who spent two weeks in quarantine were hailed as an "important example" by Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, when he said that people could be increasingly asked to isolate themselves.

There is no official data on the number of people advised to isolate themselves, but the approach is seen as a crucial way to minimize the spread of the virus.

But what does self-isolation mean and how do you ensure it works?

Who should isolate himself?

You only need to isolate yourself if you have been informed by Public Health England (PHE) or the Department of Health and Social Care.

They are tracking people who have maintained "close and continuous" contact with individuals who confirm the virus – spending 15 minutes at two meters from an infected person is considered a significant risk.

The exception is if you have traveled to mainland China, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the last 14 days and you have symptoms such as cough, fever or shortness of breath.

In such cases, do not go to the doctor or the hospital.

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Don't go to A&E – some hospitals have installed special capsules to keep potential coronavirus patients away from others

Instead, stay home and call NHS 111, even if your symptoms are mild. (In parts of Wales where 111 is not available, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 and in Northern Ireland you should call your GP.)

What should you do when you are isolated?

PHE's advice is to take "common sense" steps to avoid close contact with other people as much as possible – just as you would if you had the flu.

This means staying at home for 14 days and not going to work, school or other public places.

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Avoid stores – ask for a delivery or ask a friend for help

You should stay in a well-ventilated room, with a window that can be opened, separate from the other people in your home.

Ask for help if you need groceries, other purchases or medicine – it's okay for friends, family or drivers to deliver supplies to help you in the two weeks.

But you shouldn't invite visitors, says PHE.

What if you live with someone who isolates themselves?

Although you cannot completely separate yourself from family members or flatmates, the advice is to limit contact as much as possible.

Advice given to people living with possible coronavirus patients recommends washing your hands frequently, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds – especially after coming into contact with the patient or something he has handled.

He says you shouldn't share household items with someone isolated and, if possible, they should have a separate toilet and bathroom.

The council also says to clean household surfaces daily, using disposable gloves, if you have them. Waste that was in contact with the isolated person must be placed in a plastic bag and tied – then tied in a second bag.

Are you still paid if you can't go to work?

You may be asked to isolate yourself even if you have only mild symptoms. But you should still get paid, as if you're too sick to work.

"If a doctor asks you to isolate yourself, you should be paid sick pay, although some unscrupulous employers try to avoid this payment," says a spokesman for the Unite union.

But the union warns that some workers in the informal and informal economy may not have a sickness allowance in their contract. An Uber driver found that his account was suspended after taking a coronavirus patient to the hospital – although Uber says it is "supporting" the driver.

What do the isolated people say?

A nurse who self-isolated after coming into direct contact with a patient at risk said she faced long delays in knowing what to do after contacting NHS 111.

And she said it was painful to be isolated from loved ones.

"When I got home, my family had packed up and left. I have kids and they were understandably upset about having to leave." she told Brighton Argus.

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People like Matt Raw were praised for "setting an example" in quarantine

Afraid of taking the risk of spreading the virus, she delivered fish and chips and asked the driver to drop him off at the door – although PHE now says it is good to let them deliver deliveries.

Others complained of boredom and the suspense of not knowing if they could be infected. But some have reported clearing up the lab after a few days, reducing the isolation period.

And what do you do when you're finally free? As one of Wuhan's evacuees, Matt Raw, said after leaving the quarantine: "It is absolutely lovely to leave and I will definitely go out for a drink later."

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