Covid-19: How to keep you (and others around you) safe

The corona virus is spread by droplets when people cough or exhale. 

There is no treatment specifically for coronavirus. Antibiotics do not work, because the infection is caused by a virus and not bacteria. 

The best treatment is managing the symptoms (for example with painkillers and cough relief) while your body’s immune system fights the infection. People with the virus need to be isolated from others until they recover.

Coronavirus can be more severe in older people, people with certain long-term health conditions (such as asthma or diabetes), or people who have a lower immune system (for example because of the medication they take, or a condition like HIV or cancer). 

There has been a lot of news on Coronavirus (COVID-19) recently. Please read governmentNHS guidance, to find out what role you can play in protecting yourself and others from this virus.

Full Fact has generated a fact check page on covid-19 to help dispel any false information. 

The national situation

The number of people with coronavirus is rising in the UK, although more slowly than other countries in Europe, and is likely to peak in around two or three months.

The government’s current strategy is to delay and reduce the future ‘peak’ in the number of people with the infection. Their stance now is social distancingThis means they are:

  • isolating people with symtoms (a cough and temperature) at home for 7 days,
  • isolating people who have coronavirus, and their families, to stay at home for 14 days.
  • social distancing: asking people not to go to pubs, clubs, cafes or to socially meet in any external venues.
  • stopping all large gatherings, including sporting events and concerts.
  • asking everyone to work from home, where possible.
  • asking everyone not to travel, unless they absolutely have to to get to work or for essential food shopping. To use public transport as little as possible.

The situation in Southwark

You can find information about the number of confirmed cases locally here.

People in the community with mild symptoms are no longer being tested. This means that the number of people with coronavirus confirmed by a test will no longer reflect the overall number of people with coronavirus in the local area.  

How is this impacting local services?

Coronavirus is increasing the pressure on healthcare services, due to the numbers of people being tested and treated. Services may put more resources (such as beds and staff) into managing coronavirus and reduce their service in other areas for a short time – while still providing care to people that need it most. This means that your care might be affected.

You can read more information about local services here on the Healthwatch Southwark website. 


Some GP surgeries may decide to move to telephone or online appointments, rather than face-to-face, and ask people without an appointment not to walk into the surgery. They may also remove the option to book your appointment online.

Any changes should be communicated to you, for example by text. However, check with your GP directly by looking at their website or calling them. 

If you need urgent or emergency care call 111 or 999. However, do not call 111 just because you have symptoms of coronavirus.  

Other services

We will update this as we find out more. 

The Southwark Wellbeing Hub has closed their drop-in and pop-up service from 16 March to 30 March. Their helpline is still open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm and the number is 0203 751 9684. 

We would recommend contacting any organisations or services you attend (such as a community class or drop-in) to check if anything has changed. 

What can you do?

All of us in Southwark and the wider London community can help to support the UK’s Coronavirus response:

  • Check on elderly or vulnerable family, friends and neighbours.
  • Volunteer to help others in Southwark through mutual aid groups or Nunhead Knocks. You could also donate to a local food bank.
  • Be understanding of the pressures the health and social care systems may be under, and receptive to changes that may be needed to the provision of care to you and your family.
  • Accept that the advice for managing COVID-19 for most people will be self-isolation at home and simple over-the-counter medicines.

What else should you do?

Stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms

Stay at home for 14 days if you, or a member of your family, have either:

  • A high temperature
  • A new, continuous cough

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home. Read this advice.

How to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus

  • 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
  • IF soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitiser gel
  • 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
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean 

Community Southwark Coronorvirus Policy

Please see our Community Southwark Coronavirus Policy here

If you would like support putting together your own policy please do contact us on

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