What is coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus. A virus is a type of illness.
There are now a number of people in the UK who have got it and it is spread easily.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
The main symptoms of coronavirus are a cough, a high temperature and loss of taste or smell.
Some people with the virus will also find it harder to breathe.
Most people who have the virus will get better without needing any treatment.
But some people may become very unwell and need to go to hospital.
What to do if you think you have coronavirus
The symptoms of coronavirus are a high temperature, a cough that doesn’t go away and a loss of taste and smell.
If you have one, some or all of these symptoms, you might have coronavirus, and you should try to find out if you do.
Do not go to your doctors if you think you have coronavirus.
Contact NHS 111 straight away. This will tell you what you need to do next.
You can do this online by visiting the NHS 111 online service.
They may tell you to stay at home and not be near other people for several days. This is called self-isolating.
When to self-isolate
If you or someone you live with has a high temperature or a cough you should stay at home completely - do not even go out to the shops or for exercise.
The government have said that if you live with friends and/or family you need to stay at home for 14 days (which is the same as 2 weeks).
If you live on your own, you still need to self-isolate, but you will only need to do this for 7 days (which is the same as 1 week).
How to help stop coronavirus spreading
To help stop the spread of coronavirus the government have said that people should stay alert when they go out.
You can leave home to do things like shop, exercise, spend time outdoors and get medical treatment.
You should only be travelling to work if you really have to (aka your employer has asked you to and you cannot work from home).
As well as this, you can help to stop the spread of coronavirus by:
- covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
- putting any tissues you use in a bin
- coughing or sneezing into your sleeve instead of your hand, if you don't have a tissue
- trying not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands
- wearing a face covering on public transport.
It is really important that you wash your hands carefully and regularly. You should do this after coughing or sneezing and before eating any food. You should always wash your hands when you get home or into work.
When you go out, you must follow social distancing rules. This means keeping 2 metres apart from people who are not from your household.
We have created easy read guides about face coverings and when they should be worn. We have created one guide for people living in England, and another guide for people living in Wales and Northern Ireland.
Some people do not have to wear face coverings on public transport. (For example; because you have a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering, or because it causes severe distress).
Keep Safe have created these cards for people to carry with them to help explain why they are not wearing a mask if someone asks them in public.
We've created an easy read guide to coronavirus (COVID-19) for you.
How to wash your hands thoroughly
Doctors and nurses have told us that when washing your hands you should follow these steps:
- Wet your hands under warm running water
- Apply a small amount of soap
- Rub your hands together and make sure that the soap and water cover all over your hands
- Carefully wash your palms, the backs of your hands, your fingertips, thumbs, your wrists and nails
- Rinse your hands under running water
- Dry your hands thoroughly.
Find out more
There is an online coronavirus service that tells you about the virus and if you need medical help.