As of 24th March, everyone should #StaySafeStayHome - please STAY AT HOME.

For more details, please read this important update from UK government (published 23rd March)

What is coronavirus (also known as COVID-19)?

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

Symptoms include :

  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulties breathing
  • Muscle pain

The BBC has published a guide to coronavirus symptoms

What should I do if I think I’m infected with coronavirus?

Updated 19th March : the UK government has published advice to people who are self-isolating or who are at home with coronavirus infection. This is well worth a read BEFORE you need it - lots of practical tips on how to get prepared for a possible infection.

EVERYONE SHOULD STAY AT HOME and practise "social distancing", especially if you are :

  • 70 years or older
  • under 70 years and have an underlying health condition, including
    • if you have been advised previously to have an annual flu jab on medical grounds
    • if you have chronic, long-term respiratory disease (including COPD, asthma or bronchitis) 
    • if you have diabetes
    • if you have chronic heart disease
    • if you have chronic kidney or liver disease
    • if you have chronic neurological conditions including Parkinson's, MS, motor neurone disease
    • if you have a weakened immune system (eg if you have been undergoing chemotherapy)
  • under 70 years and you are pregnant

The UK government has published extensive advice on these and other conditions, which may make you more vulnerable to infection.

Social distancing means :

  • avoiding gatherings of friends and family
  • avoiding large gatherings (eg pubs, cinemas, restaurants, churches)
  • avoiding non-essential use of public transport - work from home, if possible
  • avoiding contact with anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus

STAY AT HOME if you believe you have coronavirus symptoms - a new continuous cough and/or a high temperature - for 7 days. If after 7 days you still have symptoms or your condition worsens, call NHS 111 or use the NHS online cornonavirus/COVID-19 symptom checker. DO NOT go to your pharmacy or GP or hospital as this may cause further spread of the infection. NHS England has provided detailed advice online. if you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms

For more details, read this guidance published by UK government on Monday 6th March at 6pm.

How do I protect myself and my family?

The main protection is through increased personal hygiene.

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water (for at least 20 seconds)
  • Catch coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues
  • Throw away used tissues – don’t reuse them. Then wash your hands
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell

Public Health England have produced a more detailed guide which may be helpful to you.