Stay at home advice
As a result of the lockdown, all South Africans who do not work in essential services must stay at home. Staying at home can help stop the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19). If you suspect that you are ill with Covid-19 or you test positively for Covid-19 then you must also self-isolate.
What does self-isolation mean?
Self-isolation means isolating yourself from others as a precaution, or so that they don't get infected for a specified period.
It’s an effective way to help protect those around you – your family, friends and colleagues – from Covid-19.
As part of the lockdown we are all required to stay at home and only leave home if it is absolutely essential. However, if you are self-isolating, you must also avoid other people as much as possible, stay at home and don't go out to buy food or collect medicine – order them by phone or online, or ask someone else to drop them off at your home.
Don’t use public transport, taxis or similar transport methods during your isolation period. You can use your own transport but please restrict trips to those that are only essential.
You can use your garden, if you have one. You can also leave the house to exercise – but stay at least 1.5 metres (3 steps) away from other people.
Who should self-isolate?
Everyone is being asked to stay at home where possible, however, you must also stay at home for 10 days and self-isolate if you have symptoms of or been diagnosed with Covid-19 or for 14 days if you live with someone who does.
We require that any person arriving from any country abroad (high risk or not) into a port of entry in the Western Cape should self-isolate for 14 days.
If you’re not sure if you need to stay at home, and you have symptoms of Covid-19 (a high temperature or a new, continuous cough), please contact the provincial hotline on 021 928 4102 for advice on what to do next. Please always get a second opinion if you are at all concerned.
What must I do if I need medical help while I'm staying at home?
Under the lockdown, you can leave home to go to the doctor or pharmacy.
If you are self-isolating then, to protect others, do not go to places like a doctor, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.
Use the provincial hotline on 021 928 4102 if you feel you can’t cope with your symptoms at home or if your condition gets worse.
If you need to get medical help not related to coronavirus, contact 10111.
What can I do to make it easier to stay at home?
Staying at home may present its own challenges, but there are things you can do to make the lockdown easier:
- Talk to your employer, friends and family to ask for their help to access the things you will need in advance
- Talk to your employer to see if you can work from home during this time
- Think about, and plan, how you can get access to food and other supplies such as medications
- If you need supplies while you are staying at home, ask friends or family to drop off anything you need, or you can order supplies online
- Make sure any deliveries are left outside your home for you to collect
- You can keep in touch with friends, family over the phone, or through other means of contact like video or chat services
- Physical exercise is good for your wellbeing. Look for online classes or courses to help you take light exercise in your home
- You can go outside, but you need to limit your contact with others - stay at least 1.5 metres away from people.
- If you have a garden, it is a good idea to do gardening, as you aren’t in close contact with other members of your household.
How can I reduce the spread of infection in my home?
While you're staying at home, you should:
- wash your hands with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds
- use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
- clean objects and surfaces you touch often (like door handles, kettles and phones) using your regular cleaning products
How can I limit contact with the others I'm living with, if I have Covid-19 or suspect I may have Covid-19?
- You must self-isolate within your home.
- Minimise close contact with those you live with.
- You should not be sharing a bed with others. Speak with your family about sleeping arrangements. Avoid sleeping in a common area.
- Aim to stay in a well-ventilated room with a window that can be opened. Try to keep the window open as much as possible to enable ventilation and airflow as this will help to keep clean air moving through your room.
- Minimise the time you spend in shared spaces such as bathrooms, kitchens and sitting rooms as much as possible and keep shared spaces clean and well ventilated.
What must I do if I am self-isolating and living with a vulnerable person?
If you are self-isolating and live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to arrange for them to stay with friends or family for your isolation period. If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.
- Try to keep 1.5 metres away from each other
- Avoid using shared spaces, such as kitchens or bathrooms, at the same time as each other
- Open windows in shared spaces if you can
- Clean a shared bathroom each time you use it, for example by wiping surfaces you have touched
- Wash your clothing and dishes separate to others in your home.
- Do not share a bed, if possible
- Do not share towels, including hand towels and tea towels, washcloths or bed linen
- Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups or eating utensils with other people in your home.
- Do not share food and drinks. Someone in your home can prepare your food, but you should not prepare food for others.
Can I have visitors in my home?
Don’t invite or allow social visitors, such as friends and family to enter your home, especially if you are self-isolating. If you want to speak to someone who is not a member of your household, use the phone or other means of contact.
You should avoid having visitors to your home, but it is okay for friends, family, or delivery drivers to drop off food and supplies. Make sure any deliveries are left outside your home for you to collect.
How do I clean my house or do laundry when I am self-isolating?
Use your usual household products, such as detergents and bleach, when you clean your home.
Your domestic waste must be double-bagged and stored in the sun for a period of 3 to 5 days before placing it in the general waste bin for collection by the municipality.
Dispose of other household waste as normal.
Wash your laundry in the washing machine in the usual way. Laundry that has been in contact with an ill person can be washed with other people's items. Do not shake dirty laundry, as this may spread the virus in the air. It may be easier for someone else to fold and put away clean laundry items (such as towels and tea towels) and provide a supply for you.
If you do not have a washing machine, wait a further 72 hours after your isolation period has ended before taking your laundry to a laundrette.
How can I look after my health and wellbeing while I'm at home?
To help yourself stay well while you're at home:
- drink plenty of water to stay hydrated – drink enough so your pee is pale and clear
- take paracetamol to help ease your symptoms
- stay in touch with family and friends over the phone or on social media, to help you avoid feeling low or lonely
- try to keep yourself busy – you could try activities like cooking, reading, online learning and watching films