October 19, 2023

COVID 19 On The Rise

This post was written by: Laaibah Bhatti

The number of people in hospitals has drastically gone up.

Just under two million people are currently estimated to have symptomatic Covid in the UK, according to data from the ZOE Covid study app.  However, as testing is no longer a requirement, these figures can only be an estimate.

It might all feel a bit 2021. But covid is on the rise again.

Here’s some of our top asked questions:

What are the main symptoms of Covid?

  • Continuous cough
  • High temperature, fever or chills
  • Loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unexplained tiredness, lack of energy
  • Muscle aches or pains not due to exercise
  • Not wanting to eat or not feeling hungry
  • Headache that is unusual or longer lasting than usual
  •  Sore throat, stuffy or runny nose
  • Diarrhoea, feeling sick or being sick

Do I have to self isolate after testing positive?

‘Self-isolating’ (staying at home) is no longer a legal requirement.

Indeed, the Government is no longer providing free Covid tests to the general population, and all restrictions have been dropped, including self-isolation rules.  Testing kits can still be purchased at pharmacies however for a few pounds.

If you do test positive, it is still recommended that you stay at home where possible and avoid contact with others.  NHS guidance states you should try and stay at home for 3 days after you test positive if you are under 18 and for 5 days for those 18 years and over.  This is because those under 18 tend to recover quicker.  The advice is also to keep up-to-date with your vaccinations, if you are eligible.  Currently, o those aged 65 and over or at increased risk will be offered the vaccine.

Employees should speak to their employer if they have any concerns or are not sure about whether they should self-isolate.

It would be wise for employers to try to arrange for home-working where possible to avoid the risk of spreading Covid to others in the workplace.  That is not always possible in some roles however and if that is the case, each employer will need to undertake a risk-assessment to see how best to deal with situations.  Each workplace will have its own risks which should be taken into consideration.

Sick pay entitlement

If an employee is not able to work because they’re ill with COVID-19, normal sick pay rules apply.

Employees are entitled to statutory sick pay (“SSP”) as normal when off ill, unless their contract specifies an enhanced entitlement to sick pay.

Employees should check their organisation’s absence policy to see what it says about reporting and proving sickness absence.

If you have any questions or concerns related to COVID-19 and its impact on your workplace, please do not hesitate to reach out to Ilinca Mardarescu our employment solicitor on imardarescu@astonbond.co.uk or 01753 486 777.

 We are here to provide the guidance and legal support you need.