With Coronavirus now being named a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO), it is more important than ever not to panic, and to know the difference between fact and fiction.

Here is some information, directly from the NHS. Just the facts, nothing else.

Could my symptoms be coronavirus?

The symptoms of coronavirus are:

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.

It’s very unlikely to be coronavirus if:

  • you have not been in close contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus
  • you have not been to a country or area with a high risk of coronavirus in the last 14 days – see our coronavirus advice for travellers

If you think you might have coronavirus, use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

I think I may have come into contact with some who has coronavirus, what should I do?

Health professionals are working to contact anyone who has been in close contact with people who have coronavirus.

If you think you’ve been in close contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus, use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

Someone at nursery, school, university or work has just returned from China or another affected area, what should I do?

The only people who may need to stay away from school, work or university are:

  • people with confirmed coronavirus
  • people who have been in close contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus
  • people who have been to a country or area with a high risk of coronavirus in the last 14 days – see our coronavirus advice for travellers

Otherwise, you should continue to go to school, university and work as normal.

You can use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

A member of my family has just returned from China or another affected area. Should other people in the household stay away from work or school?

You do not necessarily need to stay away from work or school if someone you live with has recently come from a country or area with a high coronavirus risk.

Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

I'm pregnant and may have come into contact with people who have travelled to countries that may include China or other affected areas, what should I do?

Make sure you follow hygiene measures to stop viruses like coronavirus spreading, such as washing your hands with soap and water often, and avoiding people who are unwell.

If you’ve been in close contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus, use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

My relative is in a care home that has staff who may have travelled to China or other affected areas, are they at risk?

Carers do not necessarily need to be off work if they have recently travelled to a country or area with a high coronavirus risk. It depends on where they have been, when they went and if they have symptoms.

People who have travelled to these areas in the last 14 days can use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

Simple hygiene measures like washing hands with soap and water regularly, and avoiding people who are unwell, can help stop viruses like coronavirus spreading in care homes and public places.

Does the new coronavirus only affect older people, or can younger people also get it?

People of all ages can get coronavirus. Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) are more likely to become severely ill with the virus.

People of all ages should follow simple measures to stop viruses like coronavirus spreading, for example by washing their hands often with soap and water.

What is the best way to slow the spread of coronavirus?

Wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds and whenever you:

  • get home or into work
  • blow your nose, sneeze or cough
  • eat or handle food

It’s important to use soap and water or a hand sanitiser.

Are face masks useful for preventing coronavirus?

Face masks play a very important role in places like hospitals, but there is very little evidence of widespread benefit for members of the public.

Do I need to avoid public transport, mass gatherings, festivals, concerts or places with crowds?

Most people can continue to go to work, school and other public places.

You only need to stay away from public places (self-isolate) if advised to by the NHS 111 online coronavirus service or a medical professional.

Is there a vaccine for coronavirus?

There is currently no vaccine for coronavirus (COVID-19). The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine.

Simple hygiene measures like washing your hands with soap and water often, and avoiding people who are unwell, can help stop viruses like coronavirus spreading.

Do vaccines against pneumonia protect against coronavirus?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine.

Although the pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccine is not effective against coronavirus, it is still recommended that you have it if offered to you because it can protect against other illnesses.

Can rinsing your nose with salt water (saline) help prevent coronavirus?

There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with salt water (saline) protects you from coronavirus.

There is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing your nose with saline can help people recover more quickly from the common cold. But regularly rinsing the nose has not been shown to prevent respiratory infections.

Can I get coronavirus from mail and parcels from China or other affected areas?

There is currently no evidence that you can catch coronavirus from parcels and letters.

Can pets spread coronavirus?

There is currently no evidence that companion animals or pets can be infected with coronavirus (COVID-19).

But it’s always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets.

This can help protect you against common infections that can pass between pets and humans.

Can I get coronavirus from food or takeaways?

There is currently no evidence that you can catch coronavirus from food.

But it’s always a good idea to wash your hands in soap and water or use hand sanitiser gel before you prepare or eat food.

What does "close contact with someone with a confirmed case of coronavirus" mean?

A confirmed case of coronavirus means someone who has been tested and found to have coronavirus.

Close contact with a confirmed case means:

  • living in the same house
  • contact with their body fluids
  • face-to-face contact, for example talking for more than a few minutes
  • being coughed on
  • being within 2 metres of the person for more than 15 minutes

How should I isolate myself if I think I might have coronavirus?

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 areas
  • not use public transport or taxis
  • ask friends, family members or delivery services to carry out 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.

What should I do if I become unwell with possible coronavirus while I'm out and about?

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

What will happen if a health professional thinks I could have coronavirus?

If you could have coronavirus, 111 will notify your local health protection team and direct you to your most appropriate testing location.

The health protection team will take some samples to test for coronavirus. This may include samples of:

  • mucus from your nose, throat or lungs
  • blood
  • poo (stool sample).

You may be isolated from other people until it’s confirmed if you do or do not have coronavirus.

Can I get tested if I think I have coronavirus?

Tests for coronavirus are only done if there’s a high chance you could have the illness.

This may be because:

  • you have been in close contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus
  • in the last 14 days you have travelled to a country or area with a high coronavirus risk – see our coronavirus advice for travellers

In these cases, you can use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

Can antibiotics treat or prevent coronavirus?

Antibiotics do not work against coronavirus, as they work against bacteria and coronavirus is a virus.

But antibiotics may be given to some people with coronavirus because there’s a risk the virus may make them more likely to get a bacterial infection as well.

Are there any medicines to prevent or treat the new coronavirus?

There is currently no specific medicine to prevent or treat coronavirus (COVID-19), but there are treatments to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the illness.

How effective are thermal scanners in detecting people infected with coronavirus?

Thermal scanners are effective in detecting people with a high temperature that could be caused by coronavirus. But they cannot detect people with coronavirus who do not have a high temperature.

I've recently travelled to a country that has cases of coronavirus, what should I do?

For information about what to do if you’ve recently travelled to a country or area with a high coronavirus risk, see our coronavirus advice for travellers.

I am about to travel abroad, where can I get the most up-to-date travel advice?

If you’re planning to travel abroad and are concerned about coronavirus, check the country by country travel advice on GOV.UK.

1 COMMENT

Leave a Reply