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.
COVID alert level
On the 12th October, the government introduced a hew 3 tier system of local COVID alert levels. This sets out information for local authorities, residents and workers about what to do and how to manage the outbreak in their area.
Find out what you can and cannot do if you live, work or travel in each local COVID alert level. Check the local COVID alert level of your local area to see which level applies to you.
Local COVID alert level: medium
This is for areas where national restrictions continue to be in place.
- you must not socialise in groups larger than 6, indoors or outdoors (other than where a legal exemption applies)
- businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law
- certain businesses are required to ensure customers only consume food and drink while seated, and must close between 10pm and 5am
- businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through
- schools and universities remain open
- places of worship remain open, subject to the rule of 6
- weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees
- exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors, or indoors if the rule of 6 is followed
You should continue to:
- follow social distancing rules
- work from home where you can effectively do so
- when travelling, plan ahead or avoid busy times and routes. Walk or cycle if you can
Find out more about the measures that apply in medium alert level areas to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
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
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.