COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called Coronavirus.
People have been asked to stop:
- Non-essential contact with others e.g going to pubs, clubs, concerts, theatres and other social venues
- All unnecessary travel.This advice is particularly important for people over 70, for pregnant women and for those with some health conditions.
- How long to stay at home for:
- If you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started
- If you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.
- If possible, you should not go out even to buy food or essentials, other than for exercise, and in that case at a safe distance from others
- If necessary, you should ask for help from others for your daily necessities
- If that is not possible, then you should do what you can to limit your social contact when you leave the house to get supplies.
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy, walk-in centre or hospital.
You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you're staying at home.
Read advice about staying at home.
Use the NHS 111 online Coronavirus service if:
- You feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
- Your condition gets worse
- Your symptoms do not get better after seven days.
Visit NHS 111 online here.
Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.
How Coronavirus is spread
Because it's a new illness, we do not know exactly how coronavirus spreads from person to person.
Similar viruses are spread in cough droplets.
It's very unlikely it can be spread through things like packages or food.
How to avoid catching or spreading Coronavirus
- 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
- Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
Treatment for Coronavirus
There is currently no specific treatment for Coronavirus. Antibiotics do not help, as they do not work against viruses. Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the illness. You'll need to stay in isolation, away from other people, until you have recovered.
Government response and action plan
Find out more:
The best thing is regular and thorough hand washing, preferably with soap and water.
Coronavirus spreads when an infected person coughs small droplets - packed with the virus - into the air. These can be breathed in, or cause an infection if you touch a surface they have landed on, then your eyes, nose or mouth.
So, coughing and sneezing into tissues, not touching your face with unwashed hands, and avoiding close contact with infected people are important for limiting the spread.