Coronavirus: An introduction

Updated 2nd April 2020, 18:01. 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 and many other medical experts; 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 - we all need to play our part in defeating coronavirus.

Stay home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives. 

When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection. That is why the government on the 23rd March, the government announced new social distancing measuresL

1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes.

● Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.

● One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household.

● Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person. 

● Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.

2. Closing non-essential shops and restaurants.

  • The Government requires most shops, venues and vendors to close, this includes:
  • Pubs, cafes and restaurants.
  • all non-essential retail stores - this will include clothing and electronics stores; hair, beauty and nail salons; and outdoor and indoor markets, excluding food markets.
  • libraries, community centres, and youth centres.
  • indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, arcades and soft play facilities.
  • communal places within parks, such as playgrounds, sports courts and outdoor gyms.
  • places of worship, except for funerals attended by immediate families.
  • hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan parks, and boarding houses for commercial/leisure use (excluding permanent residents and key workers).

3. Stopping public gatherings of more than two people. 

To make sure people are staying at home and apart from each other, the Government has also stopped all public gatherings of more than two people. There are only two exceptions to this rule:

● where the gathering is of a group of people who live together - this means that a parent can, for example, take their children to the shops if there is no option to leave them at home.

● where the gathering is essential for work purposes - but workers should be trying to minimise all meetings and other gatherings in the workplace. In addition, the Government is stopping social events, including weddings, baptisms and other religious ceremonies. This will exclude funerals, which can be attended by immediate family.

About Coronavirus

About Coronavirus

The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:

  • new continuous cough and/or
  • high temperature

For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.

Main advice: 

  • if you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started. (The ending isolation section below has more information)
  • if you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must stay at home for 7 days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. See the explanatory diagram
  • for anyone else in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period. The ending isolation section below has more information, and see the explanatory diagram
  • it is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community
  • if you can, move any vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period
  • if you cannot move vulnerable people out of your home, stay away from them as much as possible
  • if you have coronavirus 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
  • wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser
  • if you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after 7 days, then use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service. If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999

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

summary