Home Coronavirus (COVID-19) COVID-19 Glossary

A glossary to explain some Coronavirus terms and their definitions:


A term for a person who has COVID-19 but is showing no symptoms of the virus.

Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV)

Covid-19 can make anyone seriously ill. But for some people, the risk is higher. People at high risk (Clinically Extremely Vulnerable) will have been contacted by the NHS.

Community testing

Community testing helps identify and isolate individuals who have COVID-19 but do not have symptoms (asymptomatic).

Lateral flow test

A fast & simple way to test people who do not have symptoms of COVID-19, but who may still be spreading the virus. Rapid results delivered within hours. (If you go to a testing site, you don’t get the result before you leave – it is text to you later).


When someone who might have been exposed to the virus & has no symptoms must stay home. This is because they could be infected and could spread the virus, even though they feel well.


This term is when you do not leave your home because you have or might have COVID-19 (if you have symptoms or have been in contact with someone who's tested positive).


People deemed most at risk of becoming seriously ill from Covid-19 have been advised to “shield” by the government, meaning they should not leave their homes and should minimise all face-to-face contact.

Social distancing

These are the steps being taken to limit the spread of Covid-19. They include:

  • staying two metres away from other people in public
  • avoiding large & small gatherings in public spaces
  • avoiding non-essential use of public transport
  • working at home where possible.

Support bubble

A support bubble is a support network which links two households. You have to meet certain eligibility rules to form a support bubble, this means not everyone will be able to form a support bubble. Find out more here.

Underlying health conditions

Someone with a long term illness or health problems such as asthma, diabetes, heart conditions or cancer.

Covid Glossary