What is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a type of virus. As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world. COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China in January 2020.
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
- high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- 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)
- loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms.
How many cases do we have in the UK?
On 17 July, the Secretary of State asked Public Health England (PHE) to urgently review the way daily death statistics are currently reported. The publication of the daily figures is paused while this review takes place.
Staying alert and safe (social distancing)
On 19 June, the UK CMOs changed the COVID-19 alert level from level four to level three following a recommendation by the Joint Biosecurity Centre. This means that the virus is considered to be in general circulation but transmission is no longer high or rising exponentially. As a result, the UK Government is continuing to ease restrictions in a manner that is safe, cautious and consistent with our plan.
This means, from 4 July:
- you can meet in groups of up to two households (anyone in your support bubble counts as one household) in any location - public or private, indoors or outdoors. You do not always have to meet with the same household - you can meet with different households at different times. However, it remains the case - even inside someone’s home - that you should socially distance from anyone not in your household or bubble. This change also does not affect the support you receive from your carers
- when you are outside you can continue to meet in groups of up to six people from different households, following social distancing guidelines
- those who have been able to form a support bubble (i.e. those in single adult households) can continue to have close contact as if they live with the other people in the bubble, but you should not change who you have formed a support bubble with
- additional businesses and venues, including restaurants, pubs, cinemas, visitor attractions, hotels, and campsites can open - but we will continue to keep closed certain premises where the risks of transmission may be higher
- other public places, such as libraries, community centres, places of worship, outdoor playgrounds and outdoor gyms can open
- you can stay overnight away from your home with your own household or support bubble, or with members of one other household (where you need to keep social distancing)
- it is against the law for gatherings of more than 30 people to take place in private homes (including gardens and other outdoor spaces), or in a public outdoors space, unless planned by an organisation in compliance with COVID-19 Secure guidance
How to stop the infection spreading
There are also other things you can do to help reduce the risk of you and other people getting ill with coronavirus.
- wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds. Watch the NHS how to on handwashing https://youtu.be/bQCP7waTRWU
- use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- wash your hands as soon as you get home
- 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
- if you can, wear something that covers your nose and mouth when it's hard to stay away from people, such as on public transport – see staying safe outside your home on GOV.UK
- do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
What to do if you or someone you live with has symptoms?
Do not leave your home if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or live with someone who does.
If you are self-isolating, you must:
- not leave your home for any reason, other than to exercise once a day – but stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people
- not go out to buy food or collect medicine – order them by phone or online, or ask someone else to drop them off at your home
- not have visitors, such as friends and family, in your home
- You can use your garden, if you have one.
For further details on self-isolation if you or someone you live with has symptoms please visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/
There is separate advice:
Looking after your health and wellbeing
To help yourself stay well while you're at home:
What to do if you need medical help
While everyone is being told to stay at home, it can be hard to know what to do if you're unwell.
It's still important to get medical help if you need it, especially if you feel very unwell or think there's something seriously wrong.
- If you have symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature or a new, continuous cough), use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service.
- If you need to contact a GP, use the GP surgery's website, use an online service or app, or call the surgery.
- For urgent medical help, use the regular NHS 111 online service, or call 111 if you're unable to get help online.
- For life-threatening emergencies call 999 for an ambulance.
If you're advised to go to hospital, it's important to go. Keep going to any appointments you usually have, unless you're told not to.
Read about how to get medical help from home.