Coronavirus and bowel cancer
Page updated: Monday 19 July 2021
The NHS is focusing on fully recovering cancer services, making sure that care for patients continues to be safe, effective and holistic. This means that cancer diagnosis, treatment and care are continuing, and the NHS is working to ensure that these services return to operating as they did before.
It is important to contact your GP surgery straightaway if you have worrying symptoms and you think it might be bowel cancer. GP surgeries are offering online and phone consultations so that you don't have to attend in person unnecessarily. If you have any symptoms, don't be embarrassed and don't ignore them. Doctors are used to seeing lots of people with bowel problems.
If you have been asked to go to the hospital, it is important that you attend. The only reason you should not go is if you have any symptoms of coronavirus. In this case, you should tell the hospital, cancel your appointment and self-isolate. The clinical team will discuss with you about when your appointment can be safely rescheduled.
Find out about the temporary changes to bowel cancer treatment and care during the coronavirus pandemic.
Restrictions have been easing over the last few months, however it is still important to stay cautious.
- Wash your hands and clean your surroundings regularly
- Wear a face covering in enclosed spaces
- Make space and exercise caution when meeting with people you don’t live with to help keep you and your loved ones safe
Getting tested for COVID-19
If you don't have symptoms of COVID-19, rapid lateral flow testing is available at pharmacies, testing sites employers, schools, colleges and universities.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get a free PCR test, even if your symptoms are mild.
You must self isolate if you test positive. Do not leave home if you or anyone in household has symptoms of coronavirus.
In the first instance, please refer to wider government guidance on:
- Coronavirus restrictions: what you can and can’t do
- What to do if you’re in an area where the new COVID-19 variant is spreading
- Staying at home if you think you have coronavirus (self-isolating)
- How to meet others safely (social distancing)
- How to protect clinically extremely vulnerable people (shielding)
- Face coverings: when to wear one and how to make your own
- NHS Test and Trace
The Government website also has information to help people at this time, including on employment, financial support, school closures and childcare. See https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
From Monday 19 July, the Government has eased most legal restrictions in England.While cases are high and rising, everybody needs to continue to act carefully and remain cautious. This means:
- You don’t need to stay 2 metres apart. There are also no limits on the number of people you can meet
- However to minimise your risk, you should limit the close contact you have with those you don’t live with, and increase close contact gradually. This includes minimising the number, proximity and duration of social contacts
- You should meet outdoors where possible and let fresh air into homes or other enclosed spaces.
- The Government is no longer instructing people to work from home if they can. However, the Government expects and recommends a gradual return over the summer
- You don’t need to wear a face covering by law. However, the Government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport
- There are no longer limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, civil partnerships, funerals and other life events (including receptions and celebrations). You should follow guidance for weddings and funerals to reduce risk and protect yourself and others.
- There are no longer restrictions on group sizes for attending communal worship. Everybody needs to continue to act carefully and remain cautious.
COVID-19 has not gone away, so it’s important to remember the actions you can take to keep yourself and others safe.
Some areas in England with rise cases of coronavirus are receiving extra support from the Government. Find out if you live in one of these areas on the government website. Information on support is available on your local authority’s website.
From 16 August, close contacts of people who have tested positive for coronavirus will not have to self isolate if they have received both of their vaccinations or if they are under 18. Those who test positive will still need to self isolate.
Read advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people in England.
From Monday 19 July, the whole of Scotland has moved to Level 0.
In the first instance, please refer to wider government guidance on:
- Coronavirus in Scotland
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): local protection levels
- download the Protect Scotland contact tracing app
- using a face covering
- public and customer toilets guidance on support, information, food and other essentials health advice, including a symptom checker and guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection, can be found on NHS Inform
The advice aims to be proportionate to the level of infections in the local community, optimises the benefits of protection and minimises harm to your health and wellbeing, and aims to empower people to make decisions that are right for you.
What you can do at Level 0:
- you can meet friends and family socially in groups:
- of up to 8 people from 4 households in your home or theirs – and can stay overnight
- of up to 10 people from 4 households in an indoor public place like a café, pub or restaurant. Hospitality settings are required to close at midnight
- of up to 15 people from 15 households outdoors
- under 12s do not count towards the total number of people meeting outside or indoors
- you don’t need to physically distance from family and friends in a private home or outdoors. However, your gathering should maintain at least 1m distance from all others
- you need to maintain at least 1m distance from other households in all indoor public settings
- you can travel anywhere in Scotland
- you can travel anywhere in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands - before you travel you must check the travel rules in those countries
- you can provide informal childcare, for example to look after a grandchild
- up to 200 people can attend weddings and funerals
- you can take part in any sport or exercise activity, including adult indoor contact sports
- tradespeople can carry out any work in your home such as painting, decorating or repairing
- you should continue to work from home where possible
There are five protection levels. Guidance for each can be found below:
Read government advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people in Scotland.
From Saturday 17 July, the Welsh Government has eased some of the restrictions across all of Wales. In the first instance, please refer to wider government guidance on the Welsh Government website.
They are advising people to:
- wear a face covering (if you are able to) in all indoor public places
- only form an extended household with no more than 2 other households and they should stay the same
- not meet with anyone other than your extended household or a maximum of five other people from different households indoors in your home
- not meet with more than five other people in indoor regulated settings, such as cafes, restaurants and pubs (unless you are meeting with only people you live).
- observe social distancing with people you do not live with or who are not in your exclusive extended household
- work from home if you can
- minimise travel to areas of high prevalence
- avoid international travel.
Places that can open include:
- schools, colleges, childcare providers and higher education institutions
- non essential retail
- hospitality and holiday accommodation
- entertainment venues, indoor and outdoor attractions
- places of worship
- sports grounds, courts and gold courses
- community centres
From Saturday 7 August, if conditions allow, the Welsh Government will announce whether further restrictions will be lifted across Wales.
More guidance and FAQs about the lockdown can be found on the Welsh Government website.
Read government advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people in Wales.
Although many coronavirus restrictions have eased, some regulations remain in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Continue to protect yourself and others by following public health advice and find out the rules on what you can and cannot do below. In the first instance, please refer to wider government guidance on the Northern Ireland Government website.
- up to six people from two households can meet in a private home and stay overnight. If a household has six or more members, they can visit another household, as long as there are no more than 10 people indoors. Children aged 12 and under are not counted in the total. This includes staying overnight
- up to 15 people (including children) from no more than five households can meet up outdoors in a private garden, but you should maintain social distancing
- venues such as pubs, restaurants and cafes can open. Indoor gatherings of 15 people or fewer do not need a risk assessment. Find out more about risk assessments on the Northern Ireland Government website
- outdoor gatherings of 30 people or fewer do not need a risk assessment. Find out more about risk assessments on the Northern Ireland Government website
- outdoor and indoor visitor attractions can open (except for theatres and concert halls)
- you should continue to work from home where you can. Employers should take every possible step to help their employees work from home
- all outdoor sport is allowed. Indoor sport venues are allowed to open in a COVID-secure way. This includes venues such as leisure centres, gyms, swimming pools, equestrian centres, activity centres
On Monday 26 July the Northern Ireland Government announce if further restrictions will be lifted.
Read government advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people in Northern Ireland.
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