What is coronavirus (COVID-19)
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is an illness that can affect your lungs and airways.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- a high temperature
- a new, continuous cough
- a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste
We are working with local NHS organisations, Public Health England and NHS England, taking guidance from Government and the World Health Organisation, to monitor progress. The situation is under constant review and we are doing all we can to protect the public.
The government's guidance for everyone is:
We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:
- stay at home as much as possible
- work from home if you can
- limit contact with other people
- keep your distance if you go out (two metres apart where possible)
- wash your hands regularly
Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.
When you do leave home, you should stay at least two metres (six feet) away from other people and wash your hands, with soap and water, as soon as you return home.
You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.
Every person in the UK must comply with these new measures, which came into effect on Monday 11 May. The relevant authorities, including the police, have been given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings.
Advice and guidance:
- To find out more about the virus, symptoms, and how to protect yourself, visit nhs.uk/coronavirus
- To find out about the number of cases, latest guidance, risk level in the UK, and what the Government is doing about the virus, visit the gov.uk website.
Public Health England has published guidance for the public, health professionals and a range of other clinical and non-clinical settings, visit the guidance section on the gov.uk website for more information.
National guidance can now be accessed via the free government coronavirus information service on WhatsApp (an automated ‘chatbot’ service).
- Add 07860 064 422 to your phone contacts
- Message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started
- A set of menu options will be presented to choose from
- You will then be sent relevant guidance from the government's website, as well as links to further information
Other general advice:
- Wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds using soap and hot water, particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose, or after being in public areas where other people are doing so. Use hand sanitiser if that’s all you have access to.
- Wash your hands before preparing or eating food, after going to the toilet or changing incontinence pads, after breaks and sporting activities, before leaving home, on arrival at work, before leaving work, and on arrival at home
- Do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
To reduce the spread of germs when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or your sleeve (not your hands) if you don’t have a tissue, and throw the tissue away immediately. Then wash your hands or use a hand sanitising gel.
Clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces such as toilets, door handles and light switches, using normal household cleaning products, to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people
- If possible, don't leave home if you feel unwell - ask someone to pick up essential items for you, if necessary
Checking your symptoms
If the symptoms of anyone staying at home worsen, or you feel you cannot cope at home, you should use the NHS 111 online service. If there is no internet access, please call NHS 111.
For medical emergencies dial 999.