COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus.

For more information please visit the Covid-19 Support Area of our website or see the information for the public and for health professionals on the NHS England website.

What can I do to prevent catching the virus?

  • 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 sleeve (not your hands) when coughing and sneezing
  • Throw away used hand tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • Avoid touching your eyes, face, nose, mouth
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell

What should I do if I think I have the Coronavirus?

The NHS advises:

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 continuous cough – this means you've started coughing repeatedly

If you live with someone who has symptoms, you'll need to stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person in the home started having symptoms.

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. Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you're staying at home.

Read NHS advice about staying at home.

Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

• 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 here

Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

If you are an older person, with a pre-existing medical condition (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease), please highlight this to the professional you speak to on the phone. A medical professional will advise you what to do next.

Other useful information

The World Health Organisation has issued the following guidance: 

Travel advice

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) now advises British people against all non-essential travel worldwide. This advice takes effect immediately and applies initially for a period of 30 days.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented international border closures and other restrictions. All countries may restrict travel without notice. 

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.

Government response and action plan

GOV.UK:  UK government response
GOV.UK: information on coronavirus and the situation in the UK