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Coronavirus: updates and resources for our community

This section of our website is dedicated to compiling resources and information of the many different aspects of supporting our members and community through the coronavirus health crisis. It will be updated regularly. Please scroll down for sections on mental health, funding and finance questions and tips for working from home.


How to protect yourself and others

The guidance is taken from and NHS official advice whose main message is:

  • wash your hands regularly
  • work from home if you can
  • maintain social distancing of ‘one metre plus’. This means staying one metre apart, plus mitigations which reduce the risk of transmission.
  • In England, you can meet members of 1 other household outside in groups of up to 6 people. In Scotland, you can meet with members of up to 3 households in groups of up to 8 people. In Wales, any number of people of up to 2 households can meet outside. 
  • Two single adult households can form a ’support bubble’ which counts as one household and do not need to follow social distancing guidelines when together. 
  • A face–covering, like a mask, is mandatory on public transport in England and Scotland. Children under 5 are exempt in Scotland. Children under 11 and people with certain health conditions are exempt in England. Face masks are also compulsory in shops in Scotland already and will be in England from 24 July.

Changes from 4 July

There are a range of changes to government advice in England from 4 July, read more here.

  • you can stay overnight and visit other households, but maintain social distancing (no hugging)

In Scotland, there will be exceptions to the 2 metre rule on public transport, outdoor and indoor hospitality and retail. 

Vulnerable groups

Until 6 July

Those in the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable group’ – such as organ transplant recipients, those in chemotherapy, those receiving renal dialysis treatment – are strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face–to–face contact; this is called ‘shielding’. These people should have received a letter from the NHS, their clinician or GP informing them that they are in this category. You can access the government guidance on shielding the extremely clinically vulnerable here.

The clinically vulnerable – those over the age of 70, those with specific chronic pre–existing conditions (such as diabetes and liver disease) and pregnant women – should continue to take particular care to minimise contact with others, however they do not need to be shielded. 

The current advice for shielding will end in Scotland on 31 July. The current advice in Wales runs until 13 August. 

From 6 July in England

From 6 July in England, those shielding will be able to meet up outdoors with up to 5 others, form ‘support bubbles’ with other households and do not need to practice social distancing with those in their household.

From 1 August in England

From 1 August, the government is advising that shielding will be paused and that previously shielded people should adopt ‘strict’ social distancing rather than ‘full’ shielding measures. Strict social distancing means you may wish to go out to more places and see more people but you should take particular care to minimise contact with others outside your household or support bubble.

From 1 August, those previously shielding can return to work if their workplace is Covid–19 safe. 


Anyone who has the symptoms of coronavirus (Covid–19) can ask for a free test to check if they have the virus. This is called an antigen test. There is another test to check if you have already had the virus – an antibody test – but this is not yet widely available.

Read more about how to get a test on the NHS website

Advice on avoiding contact with the coronavirus infection (COVID–19):


  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • avoid contact with people who have symptoms of coronavirus
  • only travel on public transport if you absolutely have to, such as going to work, providing care or help for a vulnerable person, or for medical reasons
  • work from home, unless it is absolutely necessary that you go to work
  • shop online if you can
  • use phone, online services, or apps to contact your GP surgery or other NHS services
  • From 4 July, maintain social distance whenever possible of ‘one metre plus’. This means staying one metre apart, plus mitigations which reduce the risk of transmission. 


  • touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
  • meet outdoors with more than six people from outside your household 

There are two main routes by which people can spread the virus:

–         Infection can be spread to people who are nearby (within two metres) or inhaled through lungs

–         Coming into contact with a surface or object touched by an infected person through respiratory secretions and then touching mouth, nose or eyes. 

There is currently little evidence that people who are without symptoms are infectious to others. Under most circumstances, the amount of infected virus on any contaminated surface is likely to have decreased significantly by 72 hours.

The following symptoms may develop after exposure to someone who has the coronavirus:

–         A new continuous cough

–         Difficulty in breathing

–         Fever/high temperature 

–     Loss of sense of smell or taste

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

Statutory Sick Pay will be paid from day one instead of day four for those affected by the coronavirus.

You can consult the government advice on decontamination for objects and surfaces that have come into contact with someone showing the symptoms of the virus.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises British people against all non–essential travel worldwide. 

The government has announced that arrivals to the UK will be told to quarantine themselves for 14 days. Arrivals from Ireland will not need to quarantine unless they have come in contact recently with someone with coronavirus symptoms or has tested positive for the virus. 


Irish in Britain hosted a webinar in partnership with Crosscare Migrant ProjectSafe Home Ireland and Citizens Information Ireland on issues surrounding returning to Ireland. You can watch the webinar here. Please note that all information was correct at the time (3 June) but in an ever–changing situation you should follow live links to ensure you have the most up to date information. 

You can also download the three PowerPoint presentations from CrosscareSafe Home Ireland and Citizens Information.

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Tips on working from home

In light of Public Health England recommendations on working from home, Irish in Britain has compiled some tips to help make your experience as positive and productive as possible.

Read more