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COVID-19 Guidance

This page contains useful information, advice, and news on the current coronavirus pandemic. It will be updated regularly with the latest medical and governmental advice as it happens.




What is coronavirus?

COVID-19 is a new and highly contagious disease. It is part of the coronavirus family of viruses. These usually cause diseases in animals, but seven viruses, including COVID-19, have changed and can now infect humans too.

Other coronaviruses include severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

COVID-19 is thought to have originated in an animal market in Wuhan, China. The virus mainly spreads through droplets of saliva or nasal mucus when someone sneezes or coughs.

When these droplets land on surfaces, they can be picked up and transferred to someone else when they touch their hands, nose, mouth or eyes.

Consequently, it’s important that people protect themselves by washing their hands regularly and frequently with soap and hot water, or with hand sanitiser.


COVID-19 symptoms 

The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to the flu. According to the NHS, common symptoms include:

  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • High temperature
  • Continuous dry cough
  • Loss or change of smell or taste

Mild symptoms of coronavirus include:

  • Aches and pains
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

Rare symptoms of the virus include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Runny nose

If you or a loved one experiences a high temperature or a new, persistent cough, self-isolate immediately. Do not visit your GP, pharmacy, or hospital. Remain indoors and contact NHS 111 to be told how to proceed.


How long does it take for coronavirus symptoms to appear?

The period of time it takes for coronavirus symptoms to appear after actually contracting the virus is known as the “incubation period”. While it is not known for certain, most estimates range from 1-14 days for symptoms to appear. However, the most common cases feature an incubation period of around five days.

It should be noted that not everyone who contracts COVID-19 displays symptoms.


COVID-19 health tips and advice

Can I leave the house during the coronavirus lockdown?

Current governmental and medical advice on coronavirus prevention is that the general public should stay alert to control the virus. This means:

  • Staying home as much as possible.
  • Working from home where possible.
  • Limiting contact with other people.
  • Staying at least 2 metres apart from people not in your household and where you can't, try and apply the 1 metre plus rule.
  • Washing your hands regularly.

However, several restrictions have eased, and you can now do any of the following:

  • Support bubbles: if you live alone, are a single parent with dependent children, or live in a household with only one adult, you can form a ‘support bubble’ with another similar household. You can stay over each other’s houses and not follow social distancing rules. You may only have one support bubble per household.
  • Shop for any kind of item.
  • Attend school: this only applies to some school years and children of key workers.
  • Exercise: as many times a day and with up to six people from different households, providing you do not use indoor facilities and follow social distancing.
  • Socialise outdoors: with anyone from your support bubble or up to six people from different households, provided social distancing rules are observed.
  • Medical reasons: delivering medicine or care to someone in need, to escape harm or injury in your own house, or to donate blood.
  • Visit libraries, places of worship, community centres, outdoor playgrounds and outdoor gyms.
  • Access a critical public service, such as social services, victim support, to fulfill a legal obligation, Department for Work and Pensions services, or to move home in line with the government’s official guidance.
  • Travel to and from work, but only if you are unable to work from home.
  • Visit restaurants, pubs, cinemas, visitor attractions, hotels, campsites, garden centres, and other selected businesses and venues.
  • Stay overnight away from your own home, with members of your household or support bubble, or with people from one other household.

Whenever you leave the house, you must practise social distancing. This means ensuring you are at least two metres apart from anyone who you do not already live with.

The government also advises wearing face coverings if you are in an enclosed space for a short period of time. This is mandatory for anyone using public transport. Face coverings can reduce the spread of coronavirus in these instances. Learn how to make your own face coverings here.


Handwashing and coronavirus

Official coronavirus advice also recommends washing your hands regularly and frequently with hot, soapy water for at least 20 seconds. This is roughly as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” out loud twice.

Wash your hands as soon as you get home after being outside.

Always cough or sneeze into a tissue, covering your mouth and nose as you do so. Dispose of the tissue immediately afterward and wash your hands. If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow crease instead.

If your hands are not clean, do not touch your face.


How long does coronavirus live on surfaces?

Coronavirus can survive on different surfaces for different amounts of time.

While it is not known for sure exactly how long COVID-19 can live on surfaces, studies suggest that they can survive anywhere between a few hours to several days. This time can vary depending on the type of surface, temperature, humidity, and so on.

It is therefore recommended that you clean any potentially contaminated surfaces with a disinfectant. After cleaning a surface, do not touch your face and wash your hands with hot, soapy water or hand sanitiser.


What is The Independent Pharmacy doing to keep operating during the lockdown?

The Independent Pharmacy is a trusted online supplier of essential medicines, regulated and secured by a number of official bodies. These include:

We remain committed of ensuring our customers receive the medication they need, and we are still taking orders as usual.

With the rapidly unfolding changes and uncertainty caused by the current coronavirus pandemic, The Independent Pharmacy team is working exceptionally hard to cope with the extremely large demand that is being placed on our services at this challenging time.

We use a number of established supply networks to ensure our stock remains topped up wherever possible. This also means all our medicines are safe and genuine, ensuring our customers’ safety throughout the supply chain.


Dispatch & Delivery

Currently, all orders are being dispatched to meet the expected delivery times given in the checkout. However, these are not guaranteed dates and due to the incredible strain on the postal system, your parcel may experience delays in reaching you. You will receive tracking details by email and in your online account as soon as your order is dispatched and you will be able to follow the progress of your delivery with your courier of choice.

If you are currently self-isolating, you are able to add this to the delivery notes section in the checkout and all couriers will be doing their best to deliver your parcel in a manner that is safe for all parties.

Royal Mail have currently amended their Next Day Guaranteed before 1pm option to Next Day Guaranteed before 9pm. As such, we have updated this delivery option for the foreseeable future.

Royal Mail coronavirus advice states that it is still delivering during the lockdown, albeit with longer waiting times for packages. The World Health Organisation has advised that the probability of an infected person spreading the virus via post is low. The risk of catching COVID-19 from a package is also low.

Consequently, it may take longer than usual for your medicines to arrive. We therefore recommend you order in advance to avoid delays. We also ask our customers to order only what is essential to ensure all our patients can get the medication they need.

Summary: We are currently dispatching all orders in time to be delivered on the dates estimated in the checkout, however due to the strain placed on the postal system orders may take slightly longer than usual to reach you.


Telephone calls

Our telephone lines are operating as usual, Monday - Friday 08:30 - 17:00. If you require help or medical advice from our customer service team, the quickest and easiest way is contact us by email and we will do our best to respond within our normal four working hour window.

For more urgent healthcare needs or COVID-19 advice, please contact 111 in a non-urgent situation or 999 in an emergency.

Summary: Our customer service team is currently unable to accept telephone calls to keep our service as efficient as possible and ensure orders are dispatched on time.



The massive increase in demand on healthcare services during the pandemic has caused some volatility in stock availability and pricing. We are reviewing our stock availability daily to try and ensure that the stock reflected on our website is as accurate as possible.

Summary: We are doing our best to keep as many products available and our prices as low as possible.



Is there a paracetamol shortage in the UK?

For those who are self-isolating at home, paracetamol is the main form of pain relief from the symptoms of COVID-19. It is also a common household medication.

Consequently, people are buying paracetamol in bulk. This means stocks throughout the UK in pharmacies or general stores are often low or non-existent. However, the government is taking measures to increase supply and build up stockpiles of paracetamol within the UK.


Where can I get paracetamol?

While national stocks of paracetamol are low, you can buy paracetamol from The Independent Pharmacy here, while stocks last.


How long does coronavirus live on surfaces?

It is not known for definite how long coronavirus can survive on surfaces. Estimates range from 1-2 hours to several days, and this can vary depending on the type of surface involved, the temperature of the surface, the humidity of the environment, and other factors.

If you think a surface has been contaminated with the coronavirus, clean it thoroughly with a disinfectant. Do not touch your face while doing so, and always wash your hands afterward with hand sanitiser or hot water and soap.


How long does it take for coronavirus symptoms to appear?

It is not known for definite how long it takes for symptoms of the coronavirus to appear. This period is known as the “incubation period”, and estimates generally range between 1-14 days. However, the most common instances of incubation are around five days.

However, not everyone who catches COVID-19 displays symptoms, or they may only display very mild symptoms.


Can I get a coronavirus testing kit in the UK?

If you are concerned that you or a loved one has contracted coronavirus, it is possible to purchase a self-testing kit online. These are finger-prick kits that test your blood for coronavirus antibodies.

The test will determine whether or not you have already had the virus and if you have become slightly immune to it too.


What do the statistics for COVID-19 say?

Statistics show that cases of coronavirus continue to be reported around the world. You can find the latest COVID-19 statistics from the World Health Organisation here.

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