Coronavirus: An introduction

Updated 24th March 2020, 10:36. For the latest medical advice, visit NHS.uk/Coronavirus.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. The approach of the government, supported by opposition parties, is guided by the Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Officer, Sir Patrick Vallance; their task is not easy, but as your local MP, I am 100% supportive. 

The UK's response is not reactionary, it is based on clinical, scientific and medical evidence. This section of the website sets out both the health advice and other efforts to help support businesses and our public services. 

The UK is however facing a serious pandemic. We should not down play this illness.

The Government have published the Scientific Advice used as the basis for all decision being taken, click here for more information

On Monday 16th March, the government announced new guidance to help tackle the spread of coronavirus, which you should follow. 

  • If you with others and have symptoms of Coronavirus, however mild, you should stay at home and not leave your house for 14 days from when symptoms started. Do not go to a GP, pharmacy or hospital. This will help protect others in your community. 
  • If you live alone and have these symptoms, you should self-isolate for 7 days. 
  • Stay at least two meters (approx. 3 steps) away from others in your home and sleep alone if possible. 
  • Ask your employer, friends and family to help you get the things you need to stay at home. 
  • Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, each time using soap and water. 
  • Stay away from vulnerable individuals, such as the elderly, and those with underlying health conditions.

Everybody should avoid all non-essential travel, and visits to pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues. The government is no longer supporting mass gatherings.

You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If symptoms worsen or are no better after 7 days, you should contact NHS 111 online, by clicking here. If you have no internet access, call NHS 111. Contacting them online will help to free up call centres for those without internet access. Of course, in an emergency, dial 999. 

A summary of government advice is available in the table below:

summary

There are precautions that we can all take to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often and for at least 20 seconds.
  • Always wash your hands when you get home or go 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 sleeve.
  • Put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.

Additionally, if you have travelled to the UK from the following places, you should stay indoors and avoid contact with others, even if you do not have symptoms: Italy; Iran; Hubei province in China; Daegu, Cheongdo or Gyeongsan in South Korea. 

As your local MP, I am here to support our health services, individuals and businesses in any way I can who are affected by coronavirus. However, please understand that I have limited staff, and they are working flat out to help in whatever way they can. If you need any help or advice, please get in touch using the 'Contact' button at the top of this page. 

As the situation progresses, I will keep you updated. We will get through this. No matter how tough things feel now, Britain has got through many tough experiences before. Please remember, self-isolate if you need to, and continue to wash your hands.