Although we are unable to offer official advice ourselves, we recommend that everyone in the UK with concerns about the current outbreak keeps up-to-date with the very latest information issued by the UK Government, the NHS and the official English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland public health bodies.
The Government has issued updated measures to help stop the spread of coronavirus. The most important thing anyone can do now is to stay at home – whether or not you have symptoms. It is important to remember that you can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.
Please see the Government’s up to date guidance on how to protect yourself and others.
The only time you should leave the house is for
If you do have to go outside you should stay at least 2 metres away from other people, time spent outside the house should be minimal, and you should wash your hands as soon as you get home.
The Government has stated that the above measures are to be followed by everyone. Separate advice is available for those who are self-isolating, either as an individual or household, and for the most vulnerable who need to be shielded.
If you are a critical worker, you may leave the house to take children to and from school or their childcare provider (a list of critical worker sectors can be found here).
The current plan is for the Government to review the measures in three weeks’ time from the announcement, and then relax them if the evidence shows that is possible.
The NHS has issued some common-sense advice on what you can do to avoid coronavirus and stop the risk of it spreading.
Watch RSPH Trustee and hygiene expert Dr Lisa Ackerely, as she goes through the steps for effective hand-washing.
What to do if you have Coronavirus symptoms
The government has identified Coronavirus symptoms as having a new, continuous cough OR having a temperature of over 37.8 degrees or more.
If you have either of these symptoms the UK Government’s advice is to stay at home for 7 days. At this point you don’t need to call 111. If your symptoms are the same or worse after 7 days then you should seek medical advice.
If you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days.
For up to date guidance on how to self-isolate, please see here.
What Do We Know?
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses common across the world. They are responsible for a variety of illnesses, ranging from the common cold to more severe respiratory infections, such as pneumonia. They are ‘zoonotic’, which means they are sometimes transmitted between animals and humans (for example, investigations found that SARS was transmitted to humans from civet cats and MERS originated in dromedary camels).
The new strain – now named by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as COVID-19 – was first identified in Wuhan City, in Central China. Its main symptoms include coughing, a high temperature and shortness of breath.
As COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus, public health officials are not yet certain how it spreads from person to person and there is currently no vaccine available (information correct on 25 March 2020). However, we do know that similar viruses are spread through cough droplets. It is unlikely to be spread through items like packages or food.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Advice
The following organisations provide the most reliable information and advice on the current coronavirus outbreak (from a UK perspective). Selected international resources are also included below:
- UK Government: gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public
- UK Government: what you need to do https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
- NHS: nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
- England (Public Health England): publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/23/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/
- Scotland (Public Health Scotland / NHS Inform): nhsinform.scot/wuhan-novel-coronavirus
- Wales (Public Health Wales): phw.nhs.wales/topics/novel-coronavirus/
- Northern Ireland (Public Health Agency): publichealth.hscni.net/news/covid-19-coronavirus
- World Health Organisation (WHO): Coronavirus Myth Busters who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters
- European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control: ecdc.europa.eu/en/factsheet-health-professionals-coronaviruses