Coronavirus advice: This is what you need to know
Bosses at Public Heath England (PHE) are continuing to monitor and give advice on the cornonavirus outbreak which started in Wuhan, China, and has now reached the UK.
Health chiefs say the current risk to the UK population is low to moderate, here is everything you need to know about coronavirus - Covid-19.
What is coronavirus and should you be concerned?
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 which 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.
What are the signs and symptoms of this virus?
The symptoms of the new coronavirus (known as COVID-19) includes fever and respiratory symptoms including coughing, sneezing, and shortness of breath. The current evidence is that most cases appear to be mild.
If you have returned from these areas since February 19, you should call NHS 111 and stay indoors and avoid contact with other people even if you do not have symptoms:
Iran; Specific lockdown areas in the Lombardy and Veneto regions of Northern Italy as designated by the Government of Italy; Daegu or Cheongdo in South Korea
Hubei Province (returned in the last 14 days).
If you have returned from these areas since February 19 and develop symptoms, however mild, you should stay indoors at home and avoid contact with other people immediately and call NHS 111.
Northern Italy (defined as North of Pisa but not including Pisa, Florence and Rimini); Vietnam; Cambodia; Laos; Myanmar.
If you have a cough, or fever or shortness of breath and have visited any of the following areas in the last 14 days.
China; Thailand; Japan; Republic of Korea; Hong Kong; Taiwan; Singapore; Malaysia; Macau.
Stay indoors and call NHS 111 informing them of your recent travel to the city.
How many cases do we have in the UK?
As of 9am yesterday, March 2, a total of 13,525 people have been tested in the UK, of which 13,485 were confirmed negative and 39 positive.
What measures are being taken to protect the UK?
PHE has introduced advanced monitoring at airports with direct flights from China and a team of public health experts has been established at Heathrow Airport to support anyone arriving on flights from China who feels unwell.
How does this new coronavirus spread?
Because it's a new illness, heath chiefs say they do not know exactly how it spreads from person to person, but similar viruses spread by cough droplets or sneeze droplets.
How long any respiratory virus survives will depend on a number of factors; for example, what surface the virus is on, whether it is exposed to sunlight, differences in temperature and humidity and exposure to cleaning products.
What can you do to reduce my risk of catching coronavirus?
Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze.
Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are unwell. Should people wear face masks to protect themselves from infection?
Face masks play a very important role in clinical settings, such as hospitals but there’s very little evidence of widespread benefit from their use outside of these clinical settings. Facemasks must be worn correctly, changed frequently, removed properly and disposed of safely in order to be effective.
If you live in the area where coronavirus patients are reported as coming from - are you at extra risk?
To ensure someone with coronavirus doesn’t put others at risk is by treating them in isolation and carefully investigating who they had close contact with through contact tracing.
If a person tests positive for coronavirus, health bosses speak to the patient to identify anyone who has who has had close contact with them during the time they are considered to be infectious and go all out to find these people as soon as possible.
Once health chiefs have contacted them they can then give them the advice they need.
What does self-isolation mean for people who don’t have symptoms?
Just like when you have the flu, individuals should remain at home and should not go to work, school or public areas.
Where possible, individuals should avoid having visitors to their home but it is OK for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food. Individuals should not use public transport or taxis until 14 days after their return from a specified area.
What happens if I’m tested for coronavirus?
A doctor or nurse will swab your nose and throat if you need testing for the coronavirus.
These samples are then safely transported to one of PHE's labs.Testing starts when your sample reaches the lab; it takes 24-48 hours for testing to be done.
Once the result is available, it is sent back to your doctor or nurse who will let you know the result and give you advice on what to do next.