John Denley, Wolverhampton's Director of Public Health, is urging all residents to understand and act upon the latest guidance designed to help tackle the spread of coronavirus.

The guidance - to stay at home for 14 days if someone in your household has symptoms of coronavirus (also known as Covid-19) and the introduction of a number of 'social distancing measures' to reduce the risk of infection from the spread of the disease – was announced by the Government last night.

Mr Denley said: "We all have a part to play in preventing and slowing the spread of this virus.

"The most important thing people can do to protect themselves and their loved ones remains washing their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. Make sure you cough or sneeze into a tissue, put it in a bin and wash your hands.

"But there is now much more we can – and must – do to help us through what will be a difficult few weeks and months."

The new guidance set outs that individuals will still be asked to self isolate for 7 days from the point they first display symptoms of coronavirus – a new, continuous cough or a high temperature (37.8 degrees centigrade or higher) – but that all individuals in the household will now be asked to self isolate for 14 days from that moment as well.

If other members of the household develop similar symptoms, however mild, at any time during the 14 days, they must not leave the home for 7 days from when their symptoms started. 

If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.

Mr Denley said: "The Government has taken these measures as it is likely that people living with others will infect each other, or be infected already. 

"Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community."

People do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self isolation. If their symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days, they should contact NHS 111 online. If they have no internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999. 

The Government also last night set out a number of social distancing measures to reduce the risk of infection from the spread of coronavirus.

Those who remain well, are under 70 or do not have an underlying health condition are advised to limit their social contact where possible, including using less public transport, working at home and considering not going to pubs, restaurants, theatres and bars.

Those who are over 70, are younger but have an underlying health condition or are pregnant, are asked to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures and to significantly limit face to face interaction with friends and family if possible.

The Government says this advice is likely to be in place for some weeks. For full details of the new measures, please visit Coronavirus (COVID-19): UK government response.     

Mr Denley said: "Clearly the coming weeks and months are going to be difficult for everyone – and particularly for all those individuals and families who will be required to reduce social interaction to protect themselves and others – but it is vitally important that we all follow this guidance so that we can all help prevent and slow the spread of coronavirus.”

There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves online at NHS - Coronavirus (COVID-19).   For further information and advice, please also visit Coronavirus advice and information.