New measures on social distancing

New, stricter measures have been introduced to enforce social distancing. Restaurants, pubs, gyms and other venues where people gather socially have been instructed to close. A programme to pay workers’ salaries while their employer cannot provide work for them has been announced.

The announcements underline the importance of following guidance on social distancing, and avoiding unnecessary contact with others.

Paracetamol, ibuprofen and coronavirus

People who develop COVID-19 are advised to take paracetamol in preference to ibuprofen.

This does not apply to people who have been told by their doctor that paracetamol is unsuitable for them, or who have already been advised by a healthcare professional to take ibuprofen. Both groups should continue to take ibuprofen.

The evidence around ibuprofen and coronavirus is unclear, and the Government has asked NICE and the Commission on Human Medicines to review it.

The advice issued today is therefore interim, and should be followed unless and until new advice, informed by improved evidence, is issued.

New steps to protect medicine supplies

Restrictions have been introduced on the export of certain medicines, to protect supplies to the NHS. These include adrenaline, insulin, paracetamol and morphine.

Under EU single market rules, which still apply to the UK during the Brexit transition period, goods can be freely traded between member states. This has led to a system of ‘parallel exports’ where drugs and other items can be sold from one country to another one that pays a higher price. Governments are not ordinarily allowed to interfere in market operations of this sort, but action is being taken due to the current emergency pressures. Companies that export items on the banned list may lose their trading licences.

The full list is available here

Evidence underpinning the Government’s response

The Government has published the bank of evidence it has used in developing its response to the coronavirus pandemic. It can be read on this webpage, which will be updated with further evidence as it is made available.

Further information

Please see our further resources, below, for more information. Our helpline remains open from 9:30am to 5pm on weekdays.

Coronavirus – what to do

Coronavirus – don’t be caught out by fake news

Self-care during self-isolation and social distancing.