Medical Professional

COVID-19

What is the coronavirus?

COVID-19 is a disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 that can trigger what doctors call a respiratory tract infection. It can affect your upper respiratory tract (sinuses, nose, and throat) or lower respiratory tract (windpipe and lungs).

SARS-CoV-2 is one of seven types of coronavirus, including the ones that cause severe diseases like Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and sudden acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The other coronaviruses cause most of the colds that affect us during the year but aren’t a serious threat for otherwise healthy people.

Stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms

Stay at home for 7 days if you have either:

  • a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back

  • a new, continuous cough – this means you've started coughing repeatedly


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


You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you're staying at home.

Self-isolate immediately if:

  • you have any symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)

  • you've tested positive for coronavirus – this means you have coronavirus

  • someone you live with has symptoms or tested positive

  • someone in your support bubble has symptoms and you’ve been in close contact with them since their symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started

  • someone in your support bubble tested positive and you’ve been in close contact with them since they had the test or in the 48 hours before their test

  • you've been told you've been in contact with someone who tested positive – find out what to do if you're told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app

  • you arrive in the UK from a country with a high coronavirus risk – see GOV.UK: how to self-isolate when you travel to the UK


How long to self-isolate

If you test positive, your self-isolation period includes the day your symptoms started (or the day you had the test, if you do not have symptoms) and the next 10 full days.

Anyone you live with will also need to self-isolate at the same time.

You may need to self-isolate for longer if you get symptoms while self-isolating or your symptoms do not go away.

It's important to get medical help if your symptoms get worse.

Urgent advice:Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

  • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home

  • you feel breathless and it's getting worse

  • your symptoms get worse and you're not sure what to do

Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service

Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

Babies and children

Call 111 if you're worried about a baby or child.

If they seem very unwell, are getting worse, or you think there's something seriously wrong, call 999.

Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.

Get more advice about coronavirus in children.

Immediate action required:Call 999 for an ambulance if you or someone you care for:

  • are struggling to breathe

  • are coughing up blood

  • have blue lips or a blue face

  • feel cold and sweaty, with pale or blotchy skin

  • have a rash that does not fade when you roll a glass over it

  • collapse or faint

  • become confused or very drowsy

  • have stopped peeing or are peeing much less than usual

Tell the operator you might have coronavirus symptoms.

  • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home

  • your condition gets worse

  • your symptoms do not get better after 7 days

Use the 111 coronavirus service

Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

How coronavirus is spread

Because it's a new illness, we do not know exactly how coronavirus spreads from person to person.

Similar viruses are spread in cough droplets.

It's very unlikely it can be spread through things like packages or food.

How to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus

Do

✔Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds

✔ Always wash your hands when you get home or into work

✔ Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available

✔ 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

✔ Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell

Don't

✘ Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean


COVID-19 travel guidance

Under current UK COVID-19 restrictions, you must stay at home. You must not leave home or travel, including internationally, unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so. Check the rules that apply to you in EnglandScotlandWales and Northern Ireland.

If you intend to travel to EnglandScotlandWales or Northern Ireland from abroad, including UK nationals returning home, you must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to 3 days before departure. If you do not comply (and you do not have a valid exemption) your airline or carrier may refuse you boarding and/or you may be fined on arrival.

Before you return to the UK you must provide your journey and contact details. You must self-isolate when you enter the UK from any foreign country except Ireland, unless you have a valid exemption.

If you are legally permitted to travel abroad, check our advice on your country of destination. Some other countries have closed borders, and may further restrict movement or bring in new rules including testing requirements with little warning.

Treatment for coronavirus

There is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus.

Antibiotics do not help, as they do not work against viruses.

Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the illness.

You'll need to stay in isolation, away from other people, until you have recovered.