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Living with Covid-19

Let’s keep being kind to keep each other safe

As we learn to live with COVID-19, we are advising local residents to remain cautious. Please continue with good hygiene, keeping indoor places well ventilated and other practical measures as appropriate to keep yourself and others safe.

COVID-19 testing ended on 31 March for the majority of people and Halton Borough Council is no longer able to provide tests to our community, schools or businesses.

There are some groups who remain eligible for free COVID-19 tests from 1 April – those at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, and eligible for treatments, if they develop symptoms.

If you have a health condition that means you are eligible for COVID-19 treatments, you will be sent tests directly from the NHS and should follow guidance here - https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-care-and-treatments-for-coronavirus/treatments-for-coronavirus/

Free tests will also continue for NHS and social care staff and those in other high-risk settings. 

Self-isolation advice – there is no longer a legal requirement to self-isolate if you have tested positive or suspect you have COVID-19. The advice is now as follows: 

  • adults with the symptoms of a respiratory infection, and who have a high temperature or feel unwell, should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people until they feel well enough to resume normal activities and they no longer have a high temperature
  • children and young people who are unwell or have a high temperature should stay at home and avoid contact with other people. They can go back to school, college or childcare when they no longer have a high temperature, and they are well enough to attend
  • adults with a positive COVID-19 test result should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 5 days, which is when they are most infectious. Children and young people aged 18 and under who test positive for COVID-19 are advised to try to stay home and avoid contact with others for 3 days (from the day after the date of the test).

The symptoms of COVID-19 can include the following:

  • a high temperature or shivering (chills) – a high temperature 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
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
  • shortness of breath
  • feeling tired or exhausted
  • an aching body
  • a headache
  • a sore throat
  • a blocked or runny nose
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhoea
  • feeling sick or being sick

Please find more information here about symptoms of a respiratory infection including COVID-19.

If you are concerned about your symptoms, or they are worsening, contact 111 or speak to your GP. In an emergency dial 999.

It is still possible to catch and spread COVID-19, even if you are fully vaccinated. For most people, especially if they have been vaccinated, COVID-19 will be a relatively mild illness. However, COVID-19 can still be a very serious infection and for some people the risk of becoming severely unwell is higher.

In some cases, COVID-19 can cause symptoms that last for weeks or months after the infection has gone. People who have had a mild illness can still have long-term problems.

COVID-19 vaccinations in Halton

Getting vaccinated for COVID-19 is the best way of protecting yourself from the disease. There is also growing evidence that vaccines also protect against Long COVID, which can cause a range of debilitating symptoms. It is never too late to come forward for a vaccination.

You can check if you’re eligible for a vaccination and find details of local clinics via the NHS website.

Across Cheshire and Merseyside, there are drop-in vaccination clinics operating – you do not need to book in advance to attend.

To find out where your nearest drop-in clinic is visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/find-a-walk-in-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-site/.

Where do i find information on infection rates?

You can find information (including data for your post code area) on the Government’s website here.

Self-isolation support payments

From 24 February 2022, the Government has ended the £500 self-isolation support payment scheme.

Financial support

Please find further information on support from Halton Borough Council on the following webpages:

Support for clinically and extremely vulnerable

The guidance for people who are clinically and extremely vulnerable is now largely in line with that for the general population. This is because a lot more is now known about the virus and what makes someone more or less vulnerable to COVID-19, the vaccine continues to be successfully rolled out, and treatments are becoming available.

Please find more information here - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk/covid-19-guidance-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk

Pregnant women

You’re at higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 if you’re pregnant. If you get COVID-19 late in your pregnancy, your baby could also be at risk.

Please get vaccinated – It’s strongly recommended that you get vaccinated against COVID-19 to protect you and your baby. There are lots of local places offering regular vaccination clinics including ‘walk-ins’ where no appointment is needed. It may also be possible to get a COVID vaccination during antenatal clinics – please ask your midwife for more information.

Please visit the NHS website to book an appointment and to see details of local walk-in clinics. We also regularly publish details of clinics on our social media – Facebook and Twitter.

It’s preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. This is because they’ve been more widely used during pregnancy in other countries and are safe to use.

Find out more about pregnancy and COVID-19 vaccination

It’s also important to follow advice to stop the spread of COVID-19 throughout your pregnancy – please see the NHS website for latest guidance.

Pregnant women and the workplace

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has recently announced a change regarding pregnant employees. Previously, further consideration was given to a workplace risk assessment once pregnancy reached 28 weeks’ gestation. This has now changed to 26 weeks following clinical data that suggest that risk of complications from COVID-19 increase from around 26 weeks’ gestation.

General advice on reducing risk of COVID-19 infection applies at all gestations. All pregnant workers must undertake a workplace risk assessment with their employer and/or their occupational health team if they have one.

Further information can be found here – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-pregnant-employees/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-pregnant-employees

COVID-19 Travel advice

COVID-19 travel advice varies depending on which country you are travelling to and from. The information here is for local residents and therefore relates to England.

 Travel abroad COVID-19 checklist:

Start with the Travel abroad COVID-19 checklist (also www.GOV.uk – search ‘COVID-19 travel abroad’) which provides advice on whether you will need to: 

  • Show proof of a negative COVID-19 test
  • Quarantine on arrival
  • Complete a passenger locator form to enter the country
  • Show proof of vaccination status (plus any rules about vaccine expiry or vaccine boosters)
  • Wear a face covering on your journey or arrival

Check ‘Entry requirements’

Please check the Government’s website (www.GOV.uk) for ‘Entry requirements’ for all countries you will visit or travel through. www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Important! - We strongly recommend that you check all of the entry requirement details as soon as you make travel plans and keep on checking until departure as information can change quickly. You can sign up to alerts from the GOV.UK website which will notify you of any changes to travel restrictions and entry requirements here.

Vaccination status

There may be different rules and entry requirements in the country you are travelling to for those who are vaccinated and not vaccinated. This generally relates to the amount and type of COVID-19 tests required and if you are required to quarantine. 

COVID-19 vaccinations in Halton

COVID-19 vaccinations are widely available in Halton if you wish to get vaccinated before travelling abroad. The COVID-19 vaccine offer is ‘evergreen’ and it is never too late to come forward for a vaccination regardless of your reasons for having it.

You can check if you’re eligible for a vaccination and find details of local clinics via the NHS website.

Across Cheshire and Merseyside, there are drop-in vaccination clinics operating – you do not need to book in advance to attend.

It’s important to keep up to date with your latest vaccinations as soon as you’re eligible, especially if you’re due to travel. This is because some countries require a minimum number of days to have passed for you to qualify as vaccinated with that dose.

To find out where your nearest drop-in clinic is visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/find-a-walk-in-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-site/.

NHS COVID Pass

You can use the NHS COVID pass to show your vaccination status and eligibility to travel through:

*please note that the NHS App is not the same as the NHS COVID-19 App which was previously used in the UK for entry to events. 

COVID-19 tests for travel

Depending on the entry requirements of the particular country that you’re travelling to (including any that you pass through if going by road, sea, rail), you may be required to provide proof of negative COVID-19 tests – these may be PCR or lateral flow tests (sometimes called antigen tests) depending on the entry requirements. These tests are often referred to as ‘fit to fly’ tests. 

You cannot use the NHS to access COVID-19 tests for travel. Most travel operators will be able to provide you with a list of approved private providers of COVID-19 tests. Private providers offering these tests must meet the Government’s minimum standards for general population testing services in order to legally provide the services. 

The Government no longer provides a list of approved private providers for tests to travel. 

You will need to do your own research to find a suitable private provider for COVID tests to travel. You may find the following helpful: 

Please note that the information around COVID tests for travel can change quickly and Halton Borough Council cannot be held responsible for any advice on third party websites.

Travel Insurance

If you travel internationally you should buy appropriate travel insurance before you go. If you already have a travel insurance policy, check what cover it provides for coronavirus-related events, including medical treatment and travel disruption, and any planned activities such as adventure sports. If you are choosing a new policy, make sure you check how it covers these issues.

If you do not have appropriate insurance before you travel, you could be liable for emergency expenses, including medical treatment, which may cost thousands of pounds. Some countries have specific COVID-19 related travel insurance requirements so it’s important you’re fully covered before you travel. More information can be found at www.GOV.uk in the Government’s guide to foreign travel insurance.

Country-specific COVID-19 regulations

Some countries have implemented COVID-19 regulations such as mandatory face masks, temperature checks, social distancing and the use of apps as proof of COVID-19 status. It’s a good idea to become familiar with these regulations before you travel and that you understand they must be adhered to when visiting the country.

This information can be found in the Government’s foreign travel advice under ‘Entry Requirements’. www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice 

Travelling back to the UK

When you travel to England, you:

  • do not need to complete a UK passenger locator form before you travel
  • do not need to take any COVID-19 tests before you travel or after you arrive
  • do not need to quarantine when you arrive

This applies whether you are vaccinated or not.

It includes people who are transiting through England.

COVID-19 vaccination - resources

If you would like to find out more about the COVID-19 vaccination, there is a range of reports and information published from trusted sources.

COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 children and young people

COVID-19 and health conditions

COVID-19 vaccination and blood clotting

COVID-19 myocarditis and pericarditis

COVID-19 and foreign travel

COVID-19 pregnancy and breastfeeding

COVID-19 and women’s periods

Translated information on COVID-19