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Covid-19: support centre

Our Covid-19 support centre provides details about the support available to you, latest news and guidance.

How we're supporting members Find out why you should join us

What you need to know

In this section you can find out more about covid-19, the symptoms, how to order a test and when to isolate.

What is covid-19 (coronavirus)?

Covid-19 is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.

Coronavirus (COVID‑19) is spreading fast. 1 in 3 people who have the virus have no symptoms, so you could be spreading it without knowing it.

Remember: ‘Hands. Face. Space. Fresh Air’

  • hands – wash your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds
  • face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet
  • space – stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings)
  • fresh air - you are much safer outdoors as fresh air blows away COVID-19 particles

Coronavirus restrictions remain in place across the UK - read the guidance on what you can and cannot do.

What are the symptoms?

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • 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)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Approximately 1 in 3 people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and could be spreading it without realising it.

What to do if you have symptoms

  • Get a free PCR test to check if you have coronavirus
  • Stay at home - you and everyone you live with must immediately self-isolate. Do not leave home until you get your test results, except to post a test kit or for a PCR test appointment.

Anyone in your support bubble should also stay at home if you have been in close contact with them since your symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.

If you need medical advice

Get help at:

Call 999 if you feel very unwell or think there’s something seriously wrong.

Get a free PCR test

When to self-isolate?

You must self-isolate immediately if:

  • you experience any symptoms of coronavirus ( a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
  • you've tested positive for coronavirus (regardless of whether you're experiencing symptoms or not)
  • someone you live with has symptoms or tested positive
  • someone in your support bubble has symptoms and you’ve been in close contact with them since their symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started
  • someone in your support bubble tested positive and you’ve been in close contact with them since they had the test or in the 48 hours before their test
  • you've been told you've been in contact with someone who tested positive – find out what to do if you're told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app
Check the latest government guidance Need an isolation certificate?

How do I order a test?

There are different tests you can get to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19). The test you need depends on why you're getting tested.

The 2 main tests are:

  • PCR tests – mainly for people with symptoms, they're sent to a lab to be checked
  • Rapid lateral flow tests – only for people who do not have symptoms, they give a result in 30 minutes using a device similar to a pregnancy test

Both tests are free.

If you have coronavirus symptoms

Get a PCR test as soon as possible if you have any of these symptoms:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

You and anyone you live with should stay at home until you get your test result. Only leave your home to have a test.

Anyone in your childcare or support bubble should also stay at home if you have been in close contact with them since your symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.

Regular tests if you do not have symptoms

Anyone in England can now get regular rapid lateral flow tests without having symptoms.

About 1 in 3 people with coronavirus do not have symptoms but can still infect others. Getting regular tests is the only way to know if you have the virus.

If people test positive and self-isolate, it helps stop the virus spreading.

Other reasons to get tested

Confirming a previous test result

Get a PCR test as soon as possible if:

  • you've done a rapid lateral flow test and had a positive result or your test sample could not be read (void result)
  • you had a PCR test and your test sample could not be read

If you have symptoms, stay at home until you get the result of the 2nd test.

Get a free PCR test Get regular rapid coronavirus tests

How we're supporting our members

News

We keep members up to date through our regular communications, including all the latest changes and support we've been providing through the pandemic.
 
  View our covid-19 updates

Health & safety

Keeping you healthy and safe at work is a top priority and never more important as we navigate our way through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We carry out joint health & safety inspections and have supported special covid-19 risk assessments too. 

We've created an online learning suite for our reps to help them in undertaking these assessments. 

If there are aspects of your workplace environment that concern you, or if you are worried for your safety, please call our helpline on 0118 934 1808. We have a team of officers ready, willing, and able to advise and support you. We continue to have regular meetings with employers to ensure safety remains top priority.

Visit our health & safety rep training

Support

We keep members up to date through our regular communications, but if you have an urgent issue, please call our helpline on 0118 934 1808. We have a team of officers ready, willing, and able to advise you.

We've also produced some guidance on homeworking.

Read the statement published by the Financial Conduct Authority on support for frontline bank workers (published 28/01/2021)

External sources of support

Read our covid-19 updates Review our guidance

Long Covid & absences

Long Covid is an issue of concern for the union movement as ONS data has revealed that 1 in 5 people who’ve tested positively for Covid-19 have had symptoms that have lasted for 5 weeks or longer and that 1 in 10 have had symptoms for 12 weeks or longer. 

  • As many as 800,000 people could have Long Covid
  • We know Long Covid impacts on the lives of working people & want to know more

Long Covid, or post-Covid-19 syndrome is the lasting symptoms that people feel or have after the infection has gone. The lasting symptoms can include:

  • Brain fog or problems with memory or concentration making day-to-day life difficult.
  • Fatigue and exhaustion, which may also be exacerbated by difficulty sleeping
  • Joint and/or muscle pain, or pins and needles and tingling
  • Reduced vision and / or hearing
  • Shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness
  • And many other potential symptoms

You can find more information on the long-term impacts of Covid-19 on the NHS website. We've also got more specific guidance on long covid in our help centre.

Find out about long covid support

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