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National lockdown, what to do if you or someone you know has symptoms, and free Covid tests if you don't have symptons

National lockdown: Stay at home

Coronavirus cases are rising rapidly across the country. A national lockdown is now in place. You must stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives. 

Do not leave home unless necessary.

You can leave home to: 

  • Shop for essentials for you or someone who is vulnerable
  • Go to work or volunteer (if you can't do this from home). From 19 January, Camden Council is offering free Covid testing for workers who do not have symptons.  Find out more.
  • Exercise once a day with your household, support bubble or one other person. You should stay in your local area
  • Meet your support bubble or childcare bubble (if legally allowed to have one). A support bubble is a support network that links two households. Guidance on support bubbles is available. You can form a childcare bubble if you live with someone under the age of 14. Guidance on childcare bubbles is available.
  • Seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or harm (including domestic abuse)
  • Attend education or child care, for those who are eligible. 

If you must leave your home you should stay in your local area, unless for a permitted reason such as for work. 

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. You should not attend work.

Colleges, primary and secondary schools will be open, but only for vulnerable children and children of critical workersEarly Years settings remain open. All other children will learn from home until February half term. 

Meeting others 

You cannot leave your home to meet socially with anyone who you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with.

You may leave home to exercise alone, with one other person, with your household or with your support bubble. 

Stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household.

Detailed guidance on the national lockdown is available.

Covid-19 symptoms and self-isolating

The most common symptoms of Covid-19 are any of the following:

  1. a new continuous cough
  2. a high temperature
  3. a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell

If you, or someone you live with shows any of the above symptoms it is important that everyone in the household follows self-isolation guidance and stays at home.

If you have symptoms of Covid-19 you must self-isolate for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started. During this period you must:

  • not go to work
  • not go to school
  • not go to public areas
  • not use public transport or taxis.

In summary:

  • If you show symptoms you must stay at home for 10 days from when the symptoms started, and arrange to have a test to see if you have Covid-19.  After 10 days, if you do not have a high temperature, you do not have to continue to self-isolate. If after 10 days you still have a temperature you must continue to self-isolate and seek medical advice. If you do not have internet access, phone 111 for NHS advice, or phone 999 in a medical emergency.
  • If someone you live with shows symptoms you must stay at home for 14 days and the person showing symptoms needs to get tested for Covid-19.  Your 14 days start from the first day that the person in the household became ill. If during your 14 days you display symptoms, then you must stay at home for at least another 10 days from when your symptoms appear.

Further guidance for households with possible or confirmed Covid-19 infection is available

Free Covid-19 test if you have symptonsIf you have symptoms of Covid-19, you can arrange to have a free NHS test to see if you have Covid-19. Alternatively, you can book by phoning NHS 119. You will be given an option to book an appointment at a local test site or request a home test kit that will be posted to you.  The test takes 5 to 10 minutes and results are usually available within 48 hours by text, email or phone call. Read the government guidance on the NHS test and trace service, and what to do if you test positive.

There are two test sites in Camden:

  • 51 Greenwood Place, NW5 1LB (step-free access)
  • Ramsay Hall, Maple Street, W1T 5HB (no step-free access).

If you have any concerns about booking a test via the NHS route, you can use the Camden Council Covid-19 test booking system.  Please note that the booking system is for Ramsay Hall test site. When we receive your booking, someone will contact you about any support you might require about taking the test. Alternatively, phone Camden Council on 020 7974 4444 (option 9)

Free Covid-19 tests for workers who do not have symptons

From Tuesday 19 January, Camden Council is offering free Lateral Flow Tests for anyone who lives/works in Camden. These tests are aimed at people who do not have symptons of Covid-19 but who may be infectious, so could still pass it onto someone else.

The tests are available if you:

  • cannot work from home and therefore have to leave your house to travel to work
  • cannot access any form of Covid-19 testing from your employer.

Lateral Flow Tests are quick and allow results to be delivered within 45 minutes.  Go to to book a test at one of the four sites.


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