Coronaviruses are a ‘type’ of virus. The coronavirus we are all hearing about is called COVID-19, but you may also hear it called - coronavirus.
How serious is COVID-19?
The evidence shows us that the vast majority of people who get this virus have relatively mild symptoms and make a full recovery. But in a small percentage of cases, the virus can cause more severe symptoms. This is particularly true for people with a weakened immune system, for older people and for those with long term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.
How can you avoid getting and spreading the virus?
Scientists are not yet 100% certain about how this virus spreads but it's likely it's via droplets from coughs and sneezes. The virus spreads easily and can stay on surfaces, it's possible that a lot of us will get it and be affected by it, but if you follow the advice below you will reduce your risk and the risk to others.
- Clean hands - wash hands with soap and water often and for at least 20 seconds. Do this before leaving home and after returning home, before eating and drinking, and after coughing or sneezing
- Cover your mouth and nose - with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze - tissue in the bin and wash, or disinfect, your hands immediately
- Don't touch your face - keep your hands away from your face - especially your eyes, nose and mouth
- Clean surfaces - disinfect surfaces around you - especially mobiles, computers, keyboards, worktops, desks, handles...
- Avoid ill people - stay away from people who have symptoms
What are the symptoms?
If you are infected you may have very minor symptoms, minor symptoms or more severe symptoms, but the NHS cites two symptoms to look out for as:
- A new continuous cough
- A fever or high temperature
What should I do if I have either of the above symptoms?
- Protect others - don't call NHS 111
- Protect others - don't call, or go to your GP
- Protect others - don't go to your local hospital
Isolate yourself immediately
- You are, or become, unable to manage with your symptoms at home
- Your conditions get worse
- Your symptoms do not get better after 7 days
You should use the online 111 service or if you can't use the online service call 111
- Stay at home for 7 days - this means not going out at all - do this even if you think your symptoms are mild
- Ask for help - if you're finding it hard to stay at home - text, email, phone, friends, family, employers or your local community to get help - but they mustn't come into your home
- Keep your distance - keep 2 metres (around 3 steps) away from others - including family - for the full 7 days - do not go to your GP surgery or hospital
- Sleep alone - if you can sleep alone you must - it will help ensure people you live with aren't infected
- Keep washing your hands - often and for 20 seconds with soap and water helps minimise the spread
- Drink plenty of fluids - and take everyday pain killers like paracetamol
- Keep cleaning - keeping surfaces clean helps minimise the spread
- Avoid people at risk - people over 65 and those with underlying health conditions are more likely to be affected help keep them safe
Detailed guidance about social distancing for everyone
This guidance is for everyone. It advises on social distancing measures we should all be taking to reduce social interaction between people in order to reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). It is intended for use in situations where people are living at home, with or without additional support from friends, family and carers.
This important Government guide provides the latest Government advice about social distancing, with particular information for those who are at increased risk of severe illness - for example people over 70 years of age, those who are pregnant and those with certain underlying health conditions.
Short answers to questions you might have about the virus.
What can you do to help?
The single most important thing you can do is follow NHS advice. As at the 15th of March - wash hands, and self-isolate when you get symptoms. By doing this you will help reduce the risk of infections - both for yourself and for others.
More advice will be issued and you need to follow that as it is released.
When should you self-isolate?
Everyone with a high temperature or new, continuous cough must stay at home for 7 days. No need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If symptoms worsen during isolation or are no better after 7 days contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.
Why should you self-isolate?
People are being asked to self-isolate for 7 days if they get symptoms because over 90% of people will recover from this virus and won’t get seriously ill. and by self-isolating they reduce the chances of infecting others. After seven days, if you feel better and no longer have a high temperature, you can return to your normal routine.
How should I look after myself when I self-isolate?
• Get plenty of rest
• Drink plenty of water (fluids)
• Eat as healthily as you can
• To reduce pain and fever take paracetamol as advised
• Keep in contact with friends and family by phone, video and online
Why aren’t more people being tested?
The Government is trying to delay the spread of infection so has prioritised testing for the most at risk of severe illness from the virus rather than divert resources to widespread testing. Testing will, for example, include people in hospital who have pneumonia or acute respiratory illness. The reason this is being done is to make sure we are using our valuable NHS resources as well as we can. By focusing our testing on the most vulnerable we help relieve pressure on the NHS.
Do I need to wear a face mask?
When you're doing normal day-to-day activities face masks do little to protect people from viruses. The best way to reduce any risk of infections is with good hygiene, like washing your hands, and avoiding direct or close contact (within 2 metres) with any potentially infected person.
Healthcare professionals may wear special masks if they're spending hours each day looking after people who have tested positive for coronavirus, or may have been infected. If someone has been told they have coronavirus, they may be advised to wear a mask to protect others.
How do I manage on a reduced income?
The Government have made a number of changes to benefits and sick pay and will likely take more steps over the coming days and weeks. The following two organisations provide detailed support and advice about coronavirus and your money.
- This up-to-date guide from the Money Advice Service is easy to follow and filled with good advice about sick pay and changes to claiming your benefits during this challenging time.
- The advice and benefits and grants calculators at Turn2Us are useful to get support if the coronavirus has had a negative impact on your finances.