Living safely and fairly with Covid
Over the last two years of coronavirus, we have all done our bit to keep each other safe.
The government has announced that we are now in the strongest possible position to remove the remaining restrictions to our lives, and learn how to live with Covid.
But while we move back towards normality, it is important to remember that Covid’s still here. The virus' impacts on our health, wealth and wellbeing continue to be felt, and some people remain particularly at risk
So we’re urging people across Greater Manchester to keep doing the right thing by each other. By keeping up our safe behaviours, even if fully vaccinated.
Learning to live alongside Covid won’t always be easy.
But with each other’s help, and the additional support that's still available, we can do this.
- Get Fully Jabbed
- Every action you take can help keep us all safer
- Helping all residents stay safe and well
Vaccination remains our best defence against Covid. The vaccines are proven to:
- reduce your risk of getting seriously ill or dying from Covid
- reduce your risk of catching or spreading the virus
- protect against variants
Everyone aged 5 and over can get safe and effective Covid vaccines from the NHS.
One dose should give you some protection after 3-4 weeks. Two doses will provide stronger and longer-lasting protection. Your protection can be further improved by getting a booster.
If you have not yet had your vaccines, first, second and booster doses remain available.
To book your vaccine online, visit: nhs.uk/covidvaccine
Or find a local walk-in site near you: www.england.nhs.uk/north-west/grab-a-jab
Although restrictions have been lifted, Covid's still here. It remains possible to catch and spread coronavirus, even if you are fully vaccinated or have already had the virus.
In general, the risk of catching or passing on Covid-19 is higher in crowded indoor spaces, where there are more people mixing and fresh air is limited.
If you’re feeling unwell and think you might have coronavirus, or if you have taken a positive Covid test, you should:
- stay at home, and
- avoid contact with other people.
It is particularly important to avoid being in close contact with people at higher risk of getting seriously ill from Covid.
Covid-19 spreads through the air by tiny particles that are exhaled from the nose and mouth of an infected person.
To minimise this risk we still encourage people to wear face coverings in any crowded areas or places where you are likely to come into contact with people you don’t usually meet.
While the wearing of face coverings on public transport is no longer a legal requirement, Transport for Greater Manchester continues to welcome their use on public transport and at stops, stations and interchanges.
Regular hand washing is an effective way to reduce your risk of catching illnesses, including Covid-19.
Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser regularly throughout the day.
The more fresh air you let into your home or other enclosed spaces, the less likely a person is to breathe in infectious particles. So say hello to a little fresh air.
You can let in fresh air by opening doors and windows or uncovering vents. Doing this for just 10 minutes, or a small amount of time continuously where you can, makes a significant difference.
This is particularly important before, during and after meeting people you do not live with indoors. It remains safer to meet up with other people outside when you can.
Free testing for Covid from the NHS has ended for most people.
But a small number of people can still get free Covid tests:
- if you have a health condition which means you're eligible for new COVID-19 treatments
- if you are going into hospital for surgery or a procedure
- if you work in selected NHS or social care roles
You can still choose to get tested if you're not eligible for a free NHS test. You can buy rapid Covid tests from some shops or pharmacies, either in person or online.
Whether travelling for leisure, to see loved ones or do business, you should check the testing and quarantine rules in place for where you are travelling to.
You may be asked to show an NHS Covid Pass to travel abroad. You can get a digital NHS Covid Pass through the NHS App or online. If you cannot apply digitally, you can ask for an NHS Covid Pass letter to be sent to you by post.
You may need to arrange Covid-19 tests to enter the countries that you will travel to. You cannot use an NHS test for this. You must use a private test provider.
Travelling to England
Requirements for travelling to England from abroad have now been removed, whether you are vaccinated or not.
But there may still be some rules that you need to follow from your travel provider or the country you are travelling from. Be sure to check their travel advice when planning your journey.
Local plans are in place to stop coronavirus, deal with outbreaks, and help everyone to stay safe and well while doing so.
Links below open in new window
- Greater Manchester
- Outside Greater Manchester
Help remains available from NHS Volunteer Responders, set up earlier in the coronavirus pandemic.
The support they offer includes help with shopping for food and essential items; collecting and delivering prescriptions; regular talks over the phone; patient transport.
To register for support from the NHS Volunteer Responder programme please call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm, 7 days a week).
Community Hubs in each local authority provide support for the most vulnerable residents. They can help you access food, medical supplies and hardship grants, if you have no other means of doing this.
If you’ve got less money because of the coronavirus pandemic, you might be able to get help with your bills, rent or mortgage. You could also have become eligible to claim benefits or get more money on your current benefits.
Coronavirus may also be impacting on the place you call home. We have advice and guidance for both tenants and landlords with concerns about their situation.
The employment impacts of coronavirus continue to impact many people in many ways.
If your work has been disrupted, or you’re finding it hard starting out on your career, Employ GM has a range of services available to help you into work.
The Growth Company’s Business Growth Hub provides wide-ranging advice regarding concerns you may have about the impacts of Covid-19 on your business.
We know things may be difficult as restrictions to our lives are lifted. If you find yourself feeling anxious, stressed or overwhelmed, there’s support out there for you.
Free text and online support
With this 24/7 crisis text messaging service you can send a text message any time of day or night wherever you are - every conversation is with a real person.
Text SHOUT to 85258
- You don’t need an app or data and there’s no registration process
- It’s silent and won’t appear on your phone bill
- Confidential and anonymous
Kooth – for children and young people aged 11 to 18 years
- Chat to their friendly counsellors
- Read articles written by young people
- Get support from the Kooth community
Apps to support your health, mental health and wellbeing
All these apps have been tested and approved. (Your Health App Finder)
Free online wellbeing programmes
Online courses for anyone affected by low mood, anxiety or depression. Materials have been designed to improve feelings and beat stress. Available online and totally free of charge if you live in Greater Manchester.
Online programmes to help ease your levels of stress, sleep better or to build resilience. You can choose to use any of the programmes. They are self-help, confidential and secure.
Crisis Lines in Greater Manchester
If you feel you need mental health support please contact one of these 24/7 crisis lines – they’re available to anyone of any age.
Bolton, Manchester, Salford and Trafford
0800 953 0285 (freephone)
Bury, Heywood, Middleton & Rochdale, Oldham, Stockport and Tameside & Glossop
0800 014 9995 (freephone)
0800 051 3253 (freephone)
If there’s an immediate risk of danger to life, you should ring 999
Shining a Light on Suicide
Whether you’re feeling suicidal, worried someone else is, or have lost someone to suicide, you’re not alone. Whatever you’re going through, we’ll help you get the advice and support you need.
While Covid’s still here, you can help yourself make positive, healthier changes that could make you feel better.
Healthy changes start with little changes. So whether you want to lose weight, get active or quit smoking, the national Better Health website is here with lots of free tools and support.
The coronavirus pandemic has meant some people have had operations and medical procedures postponed. The NHS is working hard to get people seen as quickly as possible.
If you (or someone you care for) are waiting on delayed medical care, you are likely to have concerns and questions. Greater Manchester’s new While You Wait website provides further information and advice, along with handy resources, to help you manage your physical and mental wellbeing while waiting for hospital care.