Home isolation and coronavirus

If you or someone you live with has symptoms of coronavirus, you will need to stay at home for up to 14 days. 

The government has also asked people to self-isolate for up to 12 weeks if they have been identified as a greater risk. If you are in this category, the NHS will directly contact you with advice about the more stringent measures you should take in order to keep yourself and others safe. They will also tell you about the support available for home isolation. If you are worried you are in this group and you are not contacted, you should speak to your healthcare team.

It’s important to stay up-to-date with advice provided by the UK government and the NHS. Here are links to the latest information about staying at home:

We understand that home isolation isn’t easy. This page has advice we hope will help. We’re also here if you want to talk to someone:

What is home isolation?

Home isolation means staying at home to stop the spread of coronavirus, or to reduce your risk of contracting it. 

According to advice from the NHS, this means you shouldn’t:

  • go to work, school or public areas
  • use public transport or taxis
  • have visitors, such as friends and family, in your home
  • go to buy food or collect medicine.

You are able to use your garden, if you have one. Please make sure you’re following the latest advice from GOV.UK.

Preparing for home isolation

You might be feeling worried about home isolation. Being prepared will hopefully help ease some of your concerns. We recommend that you:

  • Think about what you will need in order to be able to stay at home for the full 7 to 14 days.
  • Think about and plan how you can get food and other supplies such as medications that you will need during this period.
  • Ask friends, family of your employer if they can drop off anything you need while you’re in home isolation.
  • Plan in advance what you will do if someone in your household were to feel much worse, such as having difficulties breathing.
  • If you order supplies online, make sure they are left outside your home for you to collect.

Staying in touch with family and friends

There are lots of ways you can still stay in touch with the people who are important to you. 

It might help if you arrange a regular time to speak to the people closest to you on the phone. If it’s a few different people, try splitting those calls across your day to help break it up a bit.

If you have a smartphone, computer or tablet you can also video call people. Seeing someone’s face can help you feel connected. You could coincide those calls with something like your lunch or an afternoon cup of tea. Sharing these everyday moments with someone might help bring a bit of normality to your day.

We’re also here if you want to talk. Here are the different ways you can speak to someone:

Age UK also has a free telephone friendship service for people 60 and over. Find out more about it here.

Keeping active

It can be difficult to keep active when you can’t leave your home, but there are lots of great resources online to help you:

There is lots of other advice online to help you stay active while self-isolating. We recommend you taking some time to search online and find what works for you.

Looking after your mental well-being

You might be feeling more anxious than usual at the moment. That’s perfectly understandable. It’s really important that you take care of your mental well-being as well as your physical well-being.

Create a routine

Creating a daily routine can help you feel more in control. Try sticking to your regular daily routine. Waking up at your regular time, getting ready for the day, and going to bed at the same time as you usually would can help bring some normality to your day.

Eat healthily

Eating regularly and healthily really helps our mood and energy levels. The Eatwell Guide on the NHS website has advice to help you achieve a healthy, balanced diet.

It’s also important to stay hydrated, so make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. The NHS website has information about water, drinks and your health.

Take up a new hobby

It’s really important to keep yourself occupied. As well as your favourite hobbies, you might want to take up something new. Cooking, reading, online learning, puzzles, knitting, drawing, there are lots of things you could do from home.

Ask for support if you need it. Speak to your friends and family over the phone or on social media. You can also call the Macmillan Support Line or reach out to people on our Online Community.

There are also some great sources of support and information online that can help:

How we can help

Macmillan Cancer Support Line
The Macmillan Support Line offers confidential support to people living with cancer and their loved ones. If you need to talk, we'll listen.
0808 808 00 00
7 days a week, 9am - 5pm
Email us
Get in touch via this form
Chat online
7 days a week, 9am - 5pm
Online Community
An anonymous network of people affected by cancer which is free to join. Share experiences, ask questions and talk to people who understand.
Help in your area
What's going on near you? Find out about support groups, where to get information and how to get involved with Macmillan where you live.