Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways.
What’s the risk of catching coronavirus in the UK?
The UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the public from low to moderate. But the risk to individuals remains low.
Health professionals are working to contact anyone who has been in close contact with people who have coronavirus.
How coronavirus is spread
Because it’s a new illness, we do not know exactly how coronavirus spreads from person to person.
Similar viruses spread in cough droplets.
It’s highly unlikely coronavirus can be spread through packages from affected countries or through food.
How to avoid catching or spreading germs
There’s currently no vaccine for coronavirus.
But there are things you can do to help stop germs like coronavirus spreading.
- 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 straight away
- wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
If you’ve been to China or other specified areas in the last 14 days, follow the advice on this page for returning travellers.
Symptoms of coronavirus
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
- a cough
- a high temperature
- shortness of breath
Urgent advice:Call 111 now if you’ve been:
- to Wuhan or Hubei Province in China in the last 14 days (even if you do not have symptoms)
- to other parts of China, including Macau and Hong Kong, in the last 14 days and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath (even if it’s mild)
- to Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Republic of Korea or Malaysia in the last 14 days and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath (even if it’s mild)
- in close contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus
Do not go to a GP surgery or hospital. Call 111, stay indoors and avoid close contact with other people.
Tell 111 about any recent travel and any symptoms you have.Information:
If you’re in Northern Ireland, call 0300 200 7885.
How to isolate yourself if you could have coronavirus
If there’s a chance you could have coronavirus, you may be asked to isolate yourself.
This means that for 14 days after returning from China or other specified areas, 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
While the risk to people in the UK is low, these steps can help reduce the possible spread of infection.
Treatment for coronavirus
There is no specific treatment for coronavirus.
Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the infection.
- GOV.UK information on coronavirus and the situation in the UK
- GOV.UK foreign travel advice
- World Health Organization: coronavirus myth busters