GPs and their patients who have flu symptoms should ‘stay at home and self-isolate’ this winter, Public Health England (PHE) has said.
The message was delivered at a press briefing about this year’s flu campaign yesterday, although a spokesperson later played it down saying this has always been the advice.
Speaking at the briefing yesterday, PHE medical director Dr Yvonne Doyle said it was ‘an important message’ that those with either Covid or influenza symptoms self-isolate to protect themselves and others.
She said: ‘The last thing you really want to have is flu.
‘If you do think you have either flu or Covid, stay at home and self-isolate. That’s to protect yourself – you’ll be feeling very miserable – but also to protect others.’
A slide accompanying the virtual briefing added: ‘Flu, Covid-19 and other respiratory viruses will be co-circulating during winter.
‘If you think you have either flu or Covid-19, stay home and self-isolate.’
A PHE spokesperson said that the current advice is that those who think they have flu should stay at home and rest until they feel better, minimising contact with others to prevent the spread of the flu virus.
Dr Doyle also reiterated that people should only book Covid-19 tests if they have any of the recognised symptoms – a high fever, a new continuous cough or a change of taste and smell.
She said: ‘You really only need to book a Covid test if you have those symptoms. They’re pretty accurate about Covid, so if that’s the case, do book a test.
‘You don’t need to book tests for the sake of curiosity or a huge range of other symptoms.’
Earlier this month, Pulse revealed that GPs are having to isolate from work because they cannot get tests for themselves or their children who display Covid-19 symptoms.
But this afternoon, health secretary Matt Hancock set out a new prioritisation for Covid testing which placed GPs third in line, after acute and care staff but before the public.
Meanwhile, some GP practices in England have experienced a delay in the delivery of flu vaccines because of an ‘unexpected issue with a delivery partner’.