Frequently asked questions
This page will be updated with further information as it is released by the Government.
Keep up to date with the latest Government guidelines
COVID-19 has not gone away, so it’s important to remember the actions you can take to keep yourself and others safe.
Please continue to act carefully and remain cautious to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
Covid-19 is still in our communities. Help to stop the spread of the virus by doing simple things to keep your loved ones safe.
Living safely with respiratory infections, including Covid-19
- Universal free testing has now ended for the majority of residents. Lateral flow tests will still be available from certain pharmacies and retail outlets for a low cost.
- PCR tests will still be available for certain people in the community, such as those working in high-risk settings. Find out more on GOV.UK.
- Covid-19 vaccinations for first, second and booster doses are now available. Go to the Your Health Rotherham website for more information.
- You should continue to take precautions to stop Covid-19 from spreading:
- Keep your home well ventilated if you have guests by opening a window.
- Wash your hands regularly and wipe down surfaces you use often.
- Take a lateral flow test before you meet with friends and family, or before visiting vulnerable relatives.
- Meet outdoors where possible.
- Wearing a face covering is now a personal choice. It is recommended that you continue to wear a face covering in busy indoor areas, on public transport, and when visiting the hospital, GP surgery or pharmacy.
Find out which council services are affected
Can I get tested if I don't have symptoms?
Universal free testing has now ended for the majority of residents.
Lateral flow tests will still be available from certain pharmacies and retail outlets for a small cost.
Find out more on the GOV.UK website
Further information about how to get Lateral Flow Tests
Further information about what to do if you test positive on a lateral flow test
Can I get tested if I do have symptoms?
PCR testing for people with symptoms will be available to a small number of people.
Further information is available on the NHS website
WHAT IS CURRENT SELF-ISOLATION GUIDANCE?
Further information about self-isolation is available
WHAT IF MY CHILD HAS OTHER SYMPTOMS?
If your child is feeling under the weather and you’re not sure if they should go to school or nursery, you can check what you should do on the Healthier Together website. The website provides a comprehensive guide to common child illnesses and the symptoms to look out for.
As we begin to live safely with Covid, if your child has any symptoms of Covid-19, including a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a change to their sense of smell or taste, you should keep them at home.
DO I NEED TO WEAR A FACE COVERING?
From Thursday 27 January 2022, it will become a personal choice to wear a face covering in indoor settings, however it is recommended that you continue to do so on public transport and in busy indoor areas.
NHS sites and GP surgeries may ask you to wear a face covering before entering the premises.
Face coverings are an easy way to stop COVID-19 from spreading when you are in busy areas, and offer you an extra layer of protection against the virus.
Some people may be exempt from wearing face coverings due to medical reasons.
Further information about when to where a face covering and how to make your own
CAN I GO TO WORK?
From 19 January 2022, the Government no longer asks for you to work from home if you can. Talk to your employer to agree arrangements to return to your workplace.
Employers will still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their business. The way to do this is to carry out a health and safety risk assessment, including the risk of COVID-19, and to take reasonable steps to mitigate the risks you identify. Working Safely guidance sets out a range of mitigations employers should consider including:
- cleaning surfaces that people touch regularly;
- identifying poorly-ventilated areas in the venue and taking steps to improve air flow;
- ensuring that staff and customers who are unwell do not attend the workplace or venue;
- communicating to staff and customers the measures you have put in place.
You should not go to work if you have tested positive for COVID-19, have symptoms, or are a close contact of a positive case and you have not recieved both doses of your vaccine.
What is current self-isolation guidance?
Further information about self-isolation is available
WHEN WILL I BE ABLE TO GET MY COVID-19 VACCINE?
All people aged over the age of 16 are now able to book their first COVID-19 vaccination dose.
If you are aged 16 or over and have not yet had your COVID-19 vaccine, you can book an appointment by calling the Rotherham booking line on 0300 3035258. The booking line is available:
Monday to Friday – 9am to 8pm
Saturday and Sunday – 9am to 5pm
Alternatively, you can attend a Grab a Jab walk-in session. Go to the Rotherham CCG Facebook page to keep up to date when and where these sessions are taking place.
All first dose appointments in Rotherham over the coming weeks will the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Further information from Rotherham CCG about the vaccine
My child is aged over 12 years old. Can they get their vaccination?
Parents of children aged between 5 – 15 years old can now book their children in for their COVID-19 vaccination through the National Booking system. Further information is available on the NHS website.
Your child should not attend a vaccine appointment if they are self-isolating due to waiting for a COVID-19 test result, or within 12 weeks of having a positive COVID-19 test.
Further information is available on the Rotherham CCG website
Can I get my flu jab if I’ve had the COVID-19 vaccination?
If you’ve had the COVID-19 vaccination, the booster vaccination for COVID-19, or if you’ve had COVID-19, it is safe to have the flu vaccination. Getting the flu vaccination when it is offered to you will help protect you from becoming seriously ill with the flu.
Flu vaccination is important because:
- more people are likely to get flu this winter as fewer people will have built up natural immunity to it during the COVID-19 pandemic
- if you get flu and COVID-19 at the same time, research shows you're more likely to be seriously ill
- getting vaccinated against flu and COVID-19 will provide protection for you and those around you for both these serious illnesses
Further information about the flu vaccination is available on the NHS website
What are the guidelines for travelling to the UK from abroad?
When you travel to England from abroad you:
- do not need to take any COVID-19 tests before you travel or after you arrive
- do not need to fill in a UK passenger locator form
- do not need to quarantine when you arrive
Further information is available on the GOV.UK website
Travelling from the UK to other countries
If you are planning to travel abroad, you can check what you need to do on the GOV.UK website.
Please be aware that local restrictions may be in place so check before you travel.
What does fully vaccinated mean?
To qualify under the fully vaccinated rules for travel to England, you must have proof of full vaccination with a full course of an approved vaccine.
You must have had at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccination to be considered fully vaccinated for travel to the UK. You may have also had a third or booster dose.
You must have had your final dose of the vaccine at least 14 days before you arrive in England. The day you had your final dose does not count as one of the 14 days.
The proof of vaccination must have been issued by either:
- the UK vaccination programme
- the United Nations vaccine programme for staff and volunteers
- an overseas vaccination programme with an approved proof of vaccination for travel to the UK
Check which vaccines are approved and the list of countries and territories with approved proof of vaccination
WHAT ARE THE CHANGES TO CARE HOME VISITS?
From Monday 31 January 2022, there will be no limit to the number of visitors allowed into care homes.
However, you may be asked to take precautions before visiting friends or relatives in a care home. You will also be asked to wear PPE during your visit
You should arrange your visit with the care home so that the care provider can manage the number of people attending at any one time. This will allow them to ensure their safe visiting practices can be maintained, taking into account the size and layout of the care home. Many care homes will continue using designated visiting areas
Visitors should follow local care home guidance on infection and prevention control measures at all times when visiting a care home.
In the event of an outbreak the care home will be closed to visitors.
Please do not visit If you are feeling unwell, showing signs of being unwell, have a temperature or cough, even if your tests are showing negative results.
Further information about care home visiting
Visits out of care homes
All residents (regardless of vaccination status) should not normally need to self-isolate following a visit out, but a risk assessment should be completed with consideration given to:
- the number of people involved in the visit (and whether they are ‘usual contacts’ of the resident or people they do not usually mix with)
- if the vaccination status of those involved in the visit is known or not
- whether those involved in the visit have received a recent negative lateral flow test result
- the characteristics of the setting (for example, enclosed settings would be higher risk than open air settings)
- Residents should isolate for a maximum of 10 days from other residents following an emergency stay in hospital (as they are higher risk than an elective admission) or other high-risk visit out.
There is additional guidance on care home visiting.
WHERE CAN I MEET WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS?
If you are meeting with friends or family members who you do not live with, it is important that you do safely to stop the spread of the virus. COVID-19 spreads mainly through people who are in close contact, so the further away you can keep from others and the less time you spread in close contact with them, the less likely you are at spreading the virus.
Here are some things you can do to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 and keep your friends and family safe:
- Meet outside where you can – meeting in an open space has a much lower risk of spreading COVID-19 than meeting indoors.
- If you do meet inside, make sure the space is well ventilated. Open windows and doors to make sure there is a steady flow of fresh air.
- Get the vaccine when it is offered to you but be mindful that others may not have had the vaccine yet.
- Take extra care around more vulnerable friends and relatives. Some people are more vulnerable than others from COVID-19 so minimise close contact with them.
- Minimise how many people you’re in close contact with, and for how long.
- Wash your hands and clean surfaces regularly, especially after you’ve had guests or if you’ve gone out.
Be considerate and make space for people to keep their distance if they want to.
WHAT SUPPORT IS AVAILABLE FOR MENTAL HEALTH?
There are many services which can support you with your mental health and offer advice if you are concerned about friends or family.
Information and tips for dealing with anxiety about getting back to normal, is available here
The Every Mind Matters website for advice and practical steps that you can take to support your wellbeing and manage your mental health during this pandemic.
Mind also offer a range of support and guidance for those struggling with their mental health including everyday tips, information for young people, and helping someone else.
Further information about local services at Rotherham and Barnsley Mind
If you or someone you care for are experiencing a mental health crisis, the NHS has a range of services which can help you.
Further information about mental health services
HOW DO I REPORT COVID FRAUD?
If you have received any emails or letters that you think may be a COVID support scam, you can report it using the Government’s COVID Fraud Hotline.
Call: 0800 587 5030
Further information about the COVID Fraud Hotline
Further information about COVID-19 vaccine fraud
I AM A CLINICALLY EXTREMELY VULNERABLE PERSON. WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?
Further information about protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19
Whilst the Government is moving away from legal restrictions, the guidance makes clear to people on how they can reduce the risk of catching Covid-19 by providing advice on areas such as wearing face coverings indoors and in crowded places, getting vaccinated and testing and isolating. The guidance suggests that CEV individuals take extra precaution measures as detailed within the document but there is no intention to re-introduce Shielding at this stage.