(Update 18th May 2020)
Coronavirus is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus.
What you need to do:
The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives.
- Only go outside for food, health reasons or essential work
- Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
- Stop public gatherings of more than 2 people
- Wash your hands as soon as you get home
You can only leave your home:
- To shop for basic essentials – only when you really need to
- To do one form of exercise a day – such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
- For any medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
- To travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary
What to do if you think you have coronavirus symptoms:
Stay at home if you have either:
- A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- Anosmia (loss or change in your normal sense of smell)
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
Use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do. Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.
People who are self-isolating with mild symptoms are not currently being tested.
How long to stay at home if you have symptoms of coronavirus
- You'll need to stay at home for 7 days, or longer if you still have a temperature
- If you live with someone who has symptoms you'll need to stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person in the home started having symptoms
If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days. If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.
Guidance for stay at home self isolation
- If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, do not leave your home for 7 days from when your symptoms started
- This action will help protect others in your community while you are infectious
- Plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure you can successfully stay at home
- Ask your employer, friends and family to help you to get the things you need to stay at home
- Stay at least 2 metres (about 3 steps) away from other people in your home whenever possible
- Sleep alone, if possible
- Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water
- Stay away from vulnerable individuals, such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, as much as possible
- You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999
How to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus (social distancing)
Everyone should do what they can to stop coronavirus spreading.
It is particularly important for people who:
- Are 70 or over
- Have a long-term condition
- Are pregnant
- Have a weakened immune system
- wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- always wash your hands when you get home or into work
- use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
- avoid close contact with people who have symptoms of coronavirus
- only travel on public transport if you need to
- work from home, if you can
- avoid social activities, such as going to pubs, restaurants, theatres and cinemas
- avoid events with large groups of people
- use phone, online services, or apps to contact your GP surgery or other NHS services
- do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
- do not have visitors to your home, including friends and family
If you're at high risk
The NHS will contact you from Monday 23 March 2020 if you are at particularly high risk of getting seriously ill with coronavirus. You'll be given specific advice about what to do.
Do not contact your GP or healthcare team at this stage – wait to be contacted.
Information about the virus
A coronavirus is a type of virus. As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world. Typical symptoms of coronavirus include fever and a cough that may progress to a severe pneumonia causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.
Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China.
For the latest information and advice, please visit visit the Government website for Department of Health's advice.