For the latest information about the Coronavirus please visit: https://www.publichealth.hscni.net/covid-19-coronavirus
Check if you have coronavirus symptoms
Testing for Coronavirus
What to do if you or someone you live with has symptoms of coronavirus
Advice for people at higher risk from coronavirus
Stay at home to stop coronavirus spreading
Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus. This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.
You can only leave your home:
- to shop for basic essentials – only when you really need to
- to do one form of exercise a day – such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
- for any medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
- to travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary
- a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- loss of/change in smell or taste
To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.
For more information see COVID-19: guidance on social distancing and for vulnerable people
Other things you can do to stop the infection spreading
- wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- 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
- stay 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people, if you need to go outside
- do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
Like the common cold, coronavirus infection usually occurs through close contact with a person with novel coronavirus via cough and sneezes or hand contact. A person can also be infected by touching contaminated surfaces if they do not wash their hands.
The risk of being in close contact with a person with coronavirus or contaminated surfaces is very low at the current time.
Everyone is being reminded to follow Public Health advice to:
- Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
Everyone must help stop coronavirus spreading. You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.
- Only go outside for permitted shopping, health reasons, work or one form of exercise a day. If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times.
- Groups of 4 – 6 people who do not share a household can meet outdoors, maintaining social distancing.
- Avoid touching your face and wash your hands as soon as you get home.
- Drive through church services and churches may open for private prayer with appropriate social distancing and cleaning of shared contact hard surfaces.
Testing for Coronavirus
Testing is now open to any member of the public with COVID-19 symptoms by clicking here
Everyone over five years of age in Northern Ireland with symptoms of coronavirus is now eligible for testing.
Please note testing of HSC staff, care workers and care home residents with and without symptoms will continue to be prioritised in order to protect the most vulnerable from coronavirus outbreaks in care settings
When to get tested
You should get tested in the first 3 days of coronavirus symptoms appearing, although testing is considered effective up until day 5.
No testing should be undertaken after day 5, unless it’s for a specific reason which will be agreed on a case by case basis by local microbiologists.
You will also have to be able to maintain strict isolation measures during your commute to a testing center.
Testing for the members of the public
Members of the public can book coronavirus testing if they are experience symptoms as outlined above, these can be booked at:
Download the COVID-19 NI app
A new COVID-19 NI app has been developed and includes a symptom checker and the latest advice for people living in Northern Ireland.
You can download the app from Google Play and the Apple App Store.