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Coronavirus facts and guidance

What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. Most people infected with the Coronavirus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Despite many on-going clinical trials across the world, there is currently no specific vaccine or treatment for Coronavirus. The World Health Organisation (WHO) will continue to provide updated information as soon as clinical findings become available.

How is Coronavirus spread?

Coronavirus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is important for us all to practice respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a tissue or failing that, into a flexed elbow).

The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is to be well informed about Coronavirus, the disease it causes and how it spreads. It is critical that everyone continues to protect against infection by washing hands frequently (for a minimum of 20 seconds) or by using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser, and by not touching your face.

What are the symptoms?

The main symptoms of Coronavirus are:

  • A high temperature and/or
  • A new, continuous cough and/or
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

Protecting those who are vulnerable against Coronavirus

Some people, including those aged 70 and over, those with specific chronic pre-existing conditions and pregnant women, are clinically vulnerable, meaning they are at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. As lockdown measures are eased by the UK Government this group should continue to take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their household. There is a further group of people who are defined, also on medical grounds, as clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus – that is, people with specific serious health conditions. They are advised to continue shielding to keep themselves safe by staying at home and avoiding gatherings or, if individuals wish to spend time outdoors, to take extra care to minimise contact with others by keeping 2m apart at all times.

For more information on protecting vulnerable people during the Coronavirus pandemic visit the Government’s website.

Track and trace

The Government has now launched it's track and trace service which involves contacting individuals who have been in ‘close contact’ with someone who has tested positive for Coronavirus. Close contact is defined as ‘being within 2m of someone for 15 minutes or longer'. If you are experiencing symptoms, you will need to follow guidance on self-isolation and order a test on the NHS website. Those people that you have been in close contact with will be contacted by Government contact tracers to make them aware of the risk so they themselves can self-isolate according to guidance. Visit the Government’s website for more information about track and trace.

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