Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and advice - this page is being regularly updated
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On this page you will find information on the latest situation, and links to further advice and information that Healthwatch has produced. You can access specific information about symptoms and self-isolating, and extra precautions for those who are considered to be the most vulnerable (referred to as "shielding"). Additional links are also provided to useful resources, including information which is available in other formats such as sign language and Easyread.

The latest information issued by the UK government can be accessed here including what you can and cannot do during the current (third) lockdown.


On 4th January 2021 the UK government announced a new nationwide lockdown in England. Find out about this here.

On 23rd February 2021 the Prime Minister announced a phased opening up of society starting with schools re-opening on 8th March.

Currently up to six people or two households can meet outside.

From 17th May up to six people or two households can meet indoors, up to 30 people can meet outdoors, pubs, bars and restaurants will be able to open indoors and indoor entertainment such as museums, cinemas and children's play areas can open.

For a simple guide to the key dates please click here. For more detail about what you can and cannot do at each stage click here. 

Click here to access information from Brighton and Hove City Council.


From 1st April, people who are clinically extremely vulnerable will no longer be advised to shield. You can find the full press release here.  A copy of the letter which people will receive is available at the bottom of this page.


Click here for information about visiting arrangements in care homes. Since Tuesday 4th May, residents have been able to leave their care homes to visit a friend or family member’s garden, or go on walks in places such as parks, public gardens and beaches and they will not have to self-isolate when they return.

From 17th May, care home residents can have up to 5 named visitors and can make more visits without the need to self-isolate. 


Detailed information about the COVID-19 vaccination is available  on a separate webpage that you can access by clicking here.

Symptoms of coronavirus

Stay at home if you have:

  • a high temperature – this 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 (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • loss of smell or taste
  • if you have symptoms of coronavirus, you'll need to stay at home
  • Read the advice about staying at home.

It has now been recognised that there are up to 20 commons symptoms of COVID-19.


- to test if you have symptoms, and to self isolate.

- you can still get the virus - and transmit it - after having been vaccinated although symptoms should be less severe, and transmittability should be lessen.

In addition to the main symptoms (loss of taste/smell, high temperature and a new and continuous cough)

  • Unusual tiredness (fatigue)
  • Sore throat
  • Sudden confusion (delirium), especially in older people
  • Skin rash 
  • Changes in the mouth or tongue (COVID tongue)
  • Red and sore fingers or toes (COVID fingers/toes)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pains
  • Muscle pains
  • Hoarse voice
  • Diarrhoea
  • Skipping meals
  • Abdominal pains
  • Runny nose

Testing for coronavirus

Advice from Brighton and Hove Council is available here. A test for suspected COVID-19 is free and NHS treatment for COVID-19 is free for all, including overseas visitors who are not usually entitled to free treatment from the NHS

To help ensure the people that really need to get a test can please:

  • Only request a test if you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been advised to have a test
  • Keep trying to book through the NHS website or by calling 119
  • Self -isolate immediately for 10 days if you have symptoms and all household members also need to stay at home.

Walk- in coronavirus test centres are available but must be pre-booked

Click here to get a coronavirus test.

If you don’t have access to the internet, you can call 119 to book or order a test.

In the event that people with symptoms are unable to obtain a local test, it is not recommended that they travel long distances. Government advice is to try booking again in a few hours. A good time to try is 8.30pm when new slots are made available.

How to book a free community test 

Anyone aged 18 and over who can’t work from home is encouraged to book in for a symptom-free Covid-19 test. Local testing offers free, rapid lateral flow tests to anyone who isn’t showing signs of Covid-19, who can’t work from home and who can’t access testing through other means. Further details, including how to book, are available on the Brighton & Hove City Council website at, or call 01243 642130.

Test and Trace mobile phone app

The app provides advice and outlines actions you need to take around self-isolating or getting a test. It also informs users if the local area becomes high risk. All leisure, hospitality, sports and faith venues that the public visit will need to display their own QR code poster so customers can check in quickly and easily.

Find out more about the NHS Covid-19 app.

Download now from:

Google Play Store:

Apple App Store:

Find out more:

A video with BSL sign language which explains the app is available here

MENCAP has produced a series of guides

Healthwatch England has produced guidance for patients which you can access here

Our local hospitals

For up to date information on our local hospitals and Trusts please click the links below. Please note visitor restrictions are now in operation across all hospital sites.

Royal Sussex County Hospital - click here. A number of appointments are now being conducted online or over the phone, whilst others are being postponed.

Sussex Community Foundation Trust

Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust

Information from Brighton and Hove City Council 

Updated information is being issued by Brighton & Hove Council. Information is available in British Sign Language.

Vulnerable people can get additional COVID-19 related support including emergency food bank referrals, shopping and medicine collection from the community advice and support hub.

  • If you, or someone you know needs support to get essential supplies like food or medication and you don't have family, friends or a support/care worker to help you, go to:
  • If you have no way of getting online and no one to help you, call 01273 293117, and press option 2 (Monday to
    Friday, 10am to 4.30pm)
  • It is now possible for people refer themselves for help from an NHS volunteer. This website will provide you with further information if you are self-isolating and are in need of support.

Areas covered include schools, food poverty, services for homeless people and those who are rough sleeping, Council Tax help, support for business, support for vulnerable adults and much more

COVID-19: letter to clinically extremely vulnerable people which is also available in different languages, British Sign Language and audio format.

Advice for the most vulnerable

The government has issued advice for those who are considered to be at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) because of an underlying health condition.

From 1st April, people who are clinically extremely vulnerable will no longer be advised to shield. You can find the full press release here.  A copy of the letter which people will receive is available at the bottom of this page.

Data on COVID cases and deaths 

Daily updates on the number of cases are published by the government and available here

Numbers of cases in Brighton can be accessed here

Information in accessible formats

Keeping Busy – during lockdown

Sign language

For people with aphasia

  • Information produced by Speakeasy is available here

Different languages

  • A series of videos aimed at encouraging people to continue to use health services if they are unwell. They are available in English, Arabic, Farsi, Kurdish and Sylheti

Additional information

Healthwatch Brighton and Hove updates, advice and information

You can access the following Healthwatch information:

Healthwatch England has produced information for you and your loved ones discuss your preferences for end of life care. This is especially important if you have been identified as high risk of severe illness if you catch Covid-19.

If you have any additional questions do please get in touch by emailing or calling 01273 234040


National Lockdown - Easyread guide
Easy read guide to the easing of lockdown
Letter to those shielding, March 2021

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