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Coronavirus - Your handy guide

Posted on Thursday, 12 March 2020 11:14 am | Category: Coronavirus COVID-19 is a disease caused by the Coronavirus, find out more about what it is, the symptoms and how to protect yourself.

What is Coronavirus and COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a new disease caused by a family of viruses called Coronavirus that originated in Wuhan City, China in January 2020. It affects your lungs and airways, for most people it will cause mild symptoms but it can be much more serious for people with pre-existing health conditions. The incubation period for the virus is 2-14 days so if you have been in contact with someone with the virus but don't show symptoms after 2 weeks then you haven't contracted the disease.

How is the disease spread?

From what is known about other coronaviruses, the spread of COVID-19 is most likely to happen when there is close contact (within 2 metres) with an infected person. It is likely that the risk increases the longer someone has close contact with an infected person.

Secretions produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes are the most likely to be the main way that the virus spreads. (This is the same way that colds are spread)

The virus could also be spread by contact with surfaces that the virus has landed on by someone touching it or through airborne particles from a cough or sneeze. The virus can survive for about 72 hours on a hard surface.

There is little evidence to suggest that people without symptoms are infectious to others.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The following symptoms may appear in the 14 days after being infected with COVID-19 

- difficulty breathing,
- a cough
- high temperature or fever

Do I need to wear a facemask?

During normal day to day activities, facemasks do not provide protection from respiratory viruses like COVID-19. Facemasks are only recommended to be worn by infected individuals when advised by a healthcare professional in order to reduce the risk of transmitting the infection to other people. Public Health England recommend that good hygiene habits such as regularly washing your hands, avoiding close contact with potentially infected people and using tissues to catch coughs and sneezes are the best way to reduce your risk of infection.

I've just got back from travelling abroad, am I at risk of catching the virus?

The international situation is fluid and changing daily, the best thing to do is to refer to the UK government's list of affected regions and the advice for travellers on this page.

What can I do to reduce my risk of catching the virus?

We've set up a page with simple steps that you can take to reduce your risk of catching COVID-19 here.






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