Stay alert to stay safe – what this means for you

12 May 2020

The Prime Minister has advised the public to stay alert to control coronavirus and save lives. 

It is still very important that people stay home unless necessary to go out for specific reasons set out in law. These include:

  • for work, where you cannot work from home
  • going to shops that are permitted to be open – to get things like food and medicine, and to collect goods ordered online or on the phone
  • to exercise or, from Wednesday 13 May, spend time outdoors for recreation
  • any medical need, to donate blood, avoid injury or illness, escape risk of harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.

If you do go out you must:

  • Limit contact with other people
  • Keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
  • Wash your hands regularly.

Remember, the NHS is still here for you. You should continue to attend your appointments, unless you have been told not to attend. It is also important you do not wait if you need urgent medical help. If you need urgent medical help from your GP practice, contact them online, by an app or by phone to be assessed. Most appointments will now be via a phone call, and if you are advised that you do need to see a clinician in person, the NHS has put measures in place to make sure patients are seen safely.

More detail on what you can and can’t do is set out in the Government’s frequently asked questions, including advice on how to stay safe when outside of your home. Advice on using public transport if you can not work from home and need to use it to travel to work is due to come out soon. 

Vulnerable groups, which include those aged 70 and over, those with specific chronic pre-existing conditions, and pregnant women, are advised to continue to take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their household. 

If you have been identified as someone at the highest risk of severe illness if you contract COVID-19, and have been advised that you must shield at home – you must continue to stay at home at all times and avoid face-to-face contact. Please ask neighbours or family to collect your medication or do your food shopping for you. If you do not have anyone who can do this for you, or need other assistance or advice, visit

The advice for anyone who is showing symptoms of coronavirus has not changed. If you have symptoms, a new continuous cough and/or a high temperature, you must stay at home for at least seven days. Anyone you live with should not leave home for 14 days.