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About the disease

Coronavirus
(COVID-19)

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus. It was discovered in December 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei, China.

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

You should only leave your home for very limited purposes:

  • Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
  • Any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • Travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home
How coronavirus is spread

Transmission of
COVID-19

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.

Person-to-person spread as close contact with infected

The coronavirus is thought to spread mainly from person to person. This can happen between people who are in close contact with one another.

Touching or contact with infected surfaces or objects

A person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.

Droplets that from infected person coughs or sneezes

The coronavirus is thought to spread mainly from person to person. This can happen between people who are in close contact with one another.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms of Coronavirus

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Also the symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

Fever

High Fever – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature). It is a common sign and also may appear in 2-10 days if you affected.

Cough

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).

Shortness of breath

Difficulty breathing – Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.

Stay at home and call 111: If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and any symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call the NHS 111 service as soon as possible for medical advice.

How to Protect Yourself?

Prevention
& advice

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Stay aware of the latest advice on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the NHS website and through your national and local public health authority.

Wash your hands frequently

Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Maintain social distancing

Everyone MUST stay at home except for limited reasons. When out, Maintain at least 2 metre (6 feet) between yourself & anyone else.

Avoid touching face

Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. So, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth and can make you sick.

Practice respiratory hygiene

Maintain good respiratory hygiene as covering your mouth & nose with your bent elbow or tissue when cough or sneeze.

Take steps to protect others

  • Stay home – the UK government requires you to stay home, except to get medical care, for shopping for basic necessities such as food, for one form of exercise per day, for travelling to work if you are unable to work from home.
  • Cover your mouth and nose – with a tissue when you cough or sneeze (throw used tissues in the trash) or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Socially distance – by maintaining a distance of 2 meters (6 feet) from anyone else you encounter when outside your home.
  • Self isolate if you or anyone in your household shows any symptoms of Coronavirus. Find more details on the NHS website or call the 111 service.
  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily – this includes phones, tables, light switches, doorknobs, countertops, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • Stay informed about the local COVID-19 situation – get up-to-date information about local COVID-19 activity from the NHS.

Follow steps to
wash hands

Why do I need wash hand
Soap on Hand
Palm to Palm
Between Fingers
Back to Hands
Clean with Water
Focus on Wrist
Be careful & Stay Safe

Treatment for coronavirus

To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-2019. However, those affected should receive care to relieve symptoms. People with serious illness should be hospitalized. Most patients recover thanks to supportive care.

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.

Self Care

If you have mild symptoms, stay at home until you’ve recovered, 7 days minimum from first showing symptomfs and 14 days for everyone in your household. You can relieve your symptoms if you:

  • Rest and sleep
  • Keep warm
  • Drink plenty of liquids
  • Use a room humidifier or take a hot shower to help ease a sore throat and cough
Medical Treatments

If you develop a fever, cough, and have difficulty breathing, promptly seek medical care. Call 111 or the visit the 111 website for advice.

Do’s & Don’ts

Protect yourself

The best thing you can do now is plan for how you can adapt your daily routine. Take few steps to protect yourself as Clean your hands often, Avoid close contact, Cover coughs and sneezes, clean daily used surfaces etc. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

Avoid Close Contact
Don’t Touch Face
Social Distancing
Wash Your Hands
Drink Much Water
Stay at home
Frequently Asked Questions

Common Question
& Answer

What is a novel coronavirus?

On February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, first identified in Wuhan China. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV”.

A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.

On February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, first identified in Wuhan China. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV”.

There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused be a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. The name of this disease was selected following the World Health Organization (WHO) best practice external icon for naming of new human infectious diseases.

People can fight stigma and help, not hurt, others by providing social support. Counter stigma by learning and sharing facts. Communicating the facts that viruses do not target specific racial or ethnic groups and how COVID-19 actually spreads can help stop stigma.

People in the UK may be worried or anxious about friends and relatives who are living in or visiting areas where COVID-19 is spreading. Some people are worried about the disease. Fear and anxiety can lead to social stigma, for example, towards Chinese or other Asian British or people who were in quarantine.

Stigma is discrimination against an identifiable group of people, a place, or a nation. Stigma is associated with a lack of knowledge about how COVID-19 spreads, a need to blame someone, fears about disease and death, and gossip that spreads rumors and myths.

Stigma hurts everyone by creating more fear or anger towards ordinary people instead of the disease that is causing the problem.

What is the source of the virus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause illness in people, and others, such as canine and feline coronaviruses, only infect animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses that infect animals have emerged to infect people and can spread between people. This is suspected to have occurred for the virus that causes COVID-19. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) are two other examples of coronaviruses that originated from animals and then spread to people. More information about the source and spread of COVID-19 is available on the Situation Summary: Source and Spread of the Virus.

This virus was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The first infections were linked to a live animal market, but the virus is now spreading from person-to-person. It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so.

The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

Learn what is known about the spread of newly emerged coronaviruses.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person. Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others. That is why NHS recommends that these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others.

How long someone is actively sick can vary but current NHS advice is that individuals should isolate for 7 days from first showing symptoms while people in the same household should isolate for 14 days. If you start to show symptoms then you should call the NHS 111 line of visit the 111 website to get advice.

Current NHS guidance for when it is OK to release someone from isolation is made on a case by case basis but should be at least 7 days from showing symptoms. For official advice you should call the NHS 111 helpline.

It is not yet known whether weather and temperature impact the spread of COVID-19. Some other viruses, like the common cold and flu, spread more during cold weather months but that does not mean it is impossible to become sick with these viruses during other months. At this time, it is not known whether the spread of COVID-19 will decrease when weather becomes warmer. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing.

Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. Before preparing or eating food it is important to always wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds for general food safety. Throughout the day wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, or going to the bathroom.

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely medium risk of spread from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient, refrigerated, or frozen temperatures.

Learn what is known about the spread of COVID-19.

Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

What can I do to protect myself and prevent the spread of disease?
Protection measures for everyone

Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the WHO website and through the NHS. Many countries around the world have seen cases of COVID-19 and several have seen outbreaks. Authorities in China and some other countries have succeeded in slowing or stopping their outbreaks. However, the situation is unpredictable so check regularly for the latest news.

You can reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 by taking some simple precautions:

  • Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
    Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
  • Maintain at least 2 metre (6 feet) distance between yourself and anyone when out of your home.
    Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease. It may be that small droplets contain the virus can spread without coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
    Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
  • Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
    Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
  • Stay home until the government lifts the stay at home advice. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call 111 advance. Follow the directions of the NHS.
    Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow the NHS to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.
  • Keep up to date on the latest COVID-19 hotspots (cities or local areas where COVID-19 is spreading widely). If possible, avoid traveling to places unless absolutely necessary.
    Why? You have a higher chance of catching COVID-19 in one of these areas.

Household members, intimate partners, and caregivers in a non-healthcare setting may have close contact with a person with symptomatic, laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 or a person under investigation. Close contacts should monitor their health; they should call the NHS 111 line right away if they develop symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 (e.g., fever, cough, shortness of breath)

Close contacts should also follow these recommendations:

  • Make sure that you understand and can help the patient follow the NHS instructions for medication(s) and care. You should help the patient with basic needs in the home and provide support for getting groceries, prescriptions, and other personal needs.
  • Monitor the patient’s symptoms. If the patient is getting sicker, call the NHS 111 line and tell them that the patient has laboratory-confirmed COVID-19. This will help the NHS office take steps to keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected. Ask if the patient has a medical emergency and you need to call 999, notify the dispatch personnel that the patient has, or is being evaluated for COVID-19.
  • Household members should stay in another room or be separated from the patient as much as possible. Household members should use a separate bedroom and bathroom, if available.
  • Prohibit visitors who do not have an essential need to be in the home.
  • Household members should care for any pets in the home. Do not handle pets or other animals while sick.  For more information, see COVID-19 and Animals.
  • Make sure that shared spaces in the home have good air flow, such as by an air conditioner or an opened window, weather permitting.
  • Perform hand hygiene frequently. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60 to 95% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid sharing household items with the patient. You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding, or other items. After the patient uses these items, you should wash them thoroughly (see below “Wash laundry thoroughly”).
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces, such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables, every day. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them.
    • Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.
  • Wash laundry thoroughly.
    • Immediately remove and wash clothes or bedding that have blood, stool, or body fluids on them.
    • Wear disposable gloves while handling soiled items and keep soiled items away from your body. Clean your hands (with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) immediately after removing your gloves.
    • Read and follow directions on labels of laundry or clothing items and detergent. In general, using a normal laundry detergent according to washing machine instructions and dry thoroughly using the warmest temperatures recommended on the clothing label.
  • Place all used disposable gloves, facemasks, and other contaminated items in a lined container before disposing of them with other household waste. Clean your hands (with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) immediately after handling these items. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Discuss any additional questions with the 111 helpline.

Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19. These people who may be at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness, includes:

  • Older adults
  • People who have serious underlying medical conditions like:
    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Lung disease

If you are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, you should: stock up on supplies; take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others; when you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick; limit close contact and wash your hands often; and avoid crowds, cruise travel, and non-essential travel. If there is an outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible. Watch for symptoms and emergency signs. If you get sick, stay home and call your doctor. More information on how to prepare, what to do if you get sick, and how communities and caregivers can support those at higher risk is available on People at Risk for Serious Illness from COVID-19.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.

Read about COVID-19 Symptoms from the NHS.

Not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19. For information about testing, see Testing for COVID-19.

The process and locations for testing vary from place to place. Contact the NHS 111 line if showing symptoms for advice on whether to be tested. While supplies of tests are increasing, it may still be difficult to find someplace to get tested.

COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates?

From the evidence so far, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including areas with hot and humid weather. Regardless of climate, adopt protective measures if you live in, or travel to an area reporting COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

There is no reason to believe that cold weather can kill the new coronavirus or other diseases. The normal human body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the external temperature or weather. The most effective way to protect yourself against the new coronavirus is by frequently cleaning your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or washing them with soap and water.

Taking a hot bath will not prevent you from catching COVID-19. Your normal body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the temperature of your bath or shower. Actually, taking a hot bath with extremely hot water can be harmful, as it can burn you. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

To date there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes. The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Also, avoid close contact with anyone who is coughing and sneezing.

No. Hand dryers are not effective in killing the 2019-nCoV. To protect yourself against the new coronavirus, you should frequently clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Once your hands are cleaned, you should dry them thoroughly by using paper towels or a warm air dryer.

UV lamps should not be used to sterilize hands or other areas of skin as UV radiation can cause skin irritation.

Thermal scanners are effective in detecting people who have developed a fever (i.e. have a higher than normal body temperature) because of infection with the new coronavirus.

However, they cannot detect people who are infected but are not yet sick with fever. This is because it takes between 2 and 10 days before people who are infected become sick and develop a fever.

No. Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus.

The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine. Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine against 2019-nCoV, and WHO is supporting their efforts.

Although these vaccines are not effective against 2019-nCoV, vaccination against respiratory illnesses is highly recommended to protect your health.

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