Coronavirus: advice for you and your family
Q: Could my symptoms be coronavirus?
A; The symptoms of coronavirus are a cough, high temperature and shortness of breath. But these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.
It’s very unlikely to be coronavirus if you have not been in close contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus, you have not been to mainland China, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the last 14 days, you have not been to Iran, northern Italy, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos or Myanmar since February 19th, 2020. Call 111 if you think you might have coronavirus.
Q: Does the new coronavirus only affect older people or can younger people also get it?
A: People of all ages can get coronavirus. Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) are more likely to become severely ill with the virus. People of all ages should follow simple measures to stop viruses like coronavirus spreading, for example by washing their hands often with soap and water.
Q: Can I get coronavirus from food or takeaways?
A: There is currently no evidence that you can catch coronavirus from food. Viruses like coronavirus cannot live for very long outside the body. But it’s always a good idea to wash your hands in soap and water or use hand sanitiser gel before you prepare or eat food.
Q: Can pets spread coronavirus?
A: There is currently no evidence that companion animals or pets can be infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus. But it’s always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets. This can help protect you against common infections that can pass between pets and humans.
Q: Are face masks useful for preventing coronavirus?
A: Face masks play a very important role in places like hospitals, but there is very little evidence of widespread benefit for members of the public.
Q: Do I need to avoid public transport, mass gatherings, festivals, concerts or places with crowds?
A: The only people who need to stay away from public places are people who have been:
to Hubei province in China in the last 14 days
to Iran, areas of northern Italy in lockdown or “special care zone” areas in South Korea since 19 February
to other parts of mainland China, Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the last 14 days and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath to other parts of northern Italy (anywhere north of Pisa, Florence and Rimini), Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos or Myanmar since 19 February and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath in close contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus
Otherwise, you should continue to go to work or school as normal.
Lockdown areas in northern Italy:
in Lombardy: Codogno, Castiglione d’Adda, Casalpusterlengo, Fombio, Maleo, Somaglia, Bertonico, Terranova dei Passerini, Castelgerundo and San Fiorano
in Veneto: Vo’ Euganeo
Special care zones in South Korea
Q: How should I isolate myself if I think I might have coronavirus?
A: If there’s a chance you could have coronavirus, call 111 and isolate yourself from other people.
This means you should:
stay at home
not go to work, school or public areas
not use public transport or taxis
ask friends, family members or delivery services to carry out errands for you
try to avoid visitors to your home – it’s OK for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food
You may need to do this for up to 14 days to help reduce the possible spread of infection.
Q: Are there any medicines to prevent or treat the new coronavirus?
A: There is currently no specific medicine to prevent or treat the COVID-19 coronavirus, but there are treatments to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the illness.
Q: What does “close contact with someone with a confirmed case of coronavirus” mean?
A: A confirmed case of coronavirus means someone who has been tested and found to have coronavirus.
Close contact with a confirmed case means:
living in the same house
contact with their body fluids
face-to-face contact, for example talking for more than a few minutes
being coughed on
being within 2 metres of the person for more than 15 minutes
Information supplied by the
National Health Service in the UK.