Coronavirus - latest information and advice

Read the latest advice and information from NHS England and Public Health England about the Coronavirus.
virus

What's the risk of catching coronavirus in the UK?

The NHS and Public Health England are well prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases. The NHS has put in place measures to ensure the safety of all patients and NHS staff while also ensuring services are available to the public as normal.

The UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the public from low to moderate. Health professionals are working to contact anyone who has been in close contact with people who have coronavirus.

What's the risk of coronavirus to travellers?

There are some countries and areas where there's a higher chance of coming into contact with someone with coronavirus. If you have arrived back to the UK from abroad, please follow the advice for returning travellers.

Symptoms of coronavirus

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a cough
  • a high temperature
  • shortness of breath

But these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.

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. Viruses like coronavirus cannot live outside the body for very long.

How to avoid catching or spreading germs?

Do:

  • 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 straight away.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.

  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

Don't:

  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.

When to get medical help

NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do.

Use this service if:

  • you think you might have coronavirus
  • you've recently been to a country or area with a high risk of coronavirus – see the NHS coronavirus advice for travellers
  • you've been in close contact with someone with coronavirus

Use the 111 coronavirus service

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Call 111 if you need to speak to someone.

How to self-isolate if you're asked to

If there's a chance you could have coronavirus, you may be asked to stay away from other people (self-isolate).

This means you should:

  • stay at home
  • not go to work, school or public places
  • not use public transport or taxis
  • ask friends, family members or delivery services to do errands for you
  • try to avoid visitors to your home – it's OK for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food

You may need to do this for up to 14 days to help reduce the possible spread of infection.

Read more coronavirus self-isolation advice.

Further information

NHS England had produced a list of common questions about coronavirus, covering advice for you and your family, how it's caught and spread, prevention, self-isolation, testing and treatment and foreign travel. 

NHS common questions

Other places for information:

Easy Read/British Sign Language

Up to date information around Coronavirus in easy read/BSL and in different languages which you may find helpful.

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