Coronavirus symptoms UK: NHS guidance on what to do if you're showing signs of the virus

Tim Baker, Bronwen Weatherby
Workers in protective suits conduct RNA tests on specimens inside a laboratory: REUTERS

Thirty-six people have so far tested positive for coronavirus in the UK with the risk level to the public raised from low to moderate.

British businessman Steve Walsh from Hove, East Sussex, was identified as the "super-spreader" and was linked to several cases of coronavirus across Europe, and he has now made a full recovery.

Mr Walsh picked up the virus during a conference in Singapore before travelling to a French ski chalet, where five Britons were later diagnosed with the disease. He is also linked to five other cases in the UK, including two doctors, one of whom worked a Brighton surgery that had to temporarily close.

As of Sunday, March 1, 11,750 people in total had been tested for Covid-19 in the UK.

The death toll in mainland China has risen rose to 2,912 on Monday morning, while the number of people infected globally stands at more than almost 90,000.

The widespread transmission of coronavirus in the UK is now "highly likely", according to Public Health England (PHE).

Meanwhile, the EU has raised the coronavirus risk in member states to "moderate to high".

The first British person to die of the virus was confirmed to be on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan on February 29. Japanese officials said 454 passengers have been diagnosed with the virus on the ship, which has been moored outside Tokyo for weeks.

Here is all you need to know about the virus.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

According to the NHS, the main symptoms of coronavirus are having a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath.

People with the virus will typcially show flu-like symptoms, including a fever and a cough, that can progress to severe pneumonia. This can then cause breathing difficulties.

Those with weakened immune systems, the elderly or those with long-term conditions such as diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease will suffer more severe symptoms.

How to prevent virus germs spreading?

Simple steps go a long way to helping people avoid catching and spreading germs, such as coronavirus.

- Carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then you must bin the tissue, wash your hands and/or use sanitiser gel.

- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use sanitiser if soap and water not available.

- Don't touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

- Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

- Follow the advice for self-quarantine if you have arrived back from China or other specified countries.

What is the treatment for coronavirus?

As the infection is relatively new, there is no specific treatment for coronavirus at this time. Treatment available only aims to relieve symptoms.

How to self-quarantine

If you believe you could have coronavirus, the advice is that you should stay at home for 14 days and not go to work, school or any public areas.

You should also avoid having visitors to your home other than family, friends or delivery drivers who can drop off food and medicine for you.

Neither should you use public transport or taxis in the 14 days.

The advice should be followed even if the symptoms are mild, says the NHS.

Latest guidance

Late on Monday, Public Health England (PHE) published guidance to schools telling them there is no need for children to stay off if staff, pupils or family members are undergoing Covid-19 testing.

Only if a case is confirmed will PHE local health protection teams take action, advising the school and tracing close contacts of those affected.

However, if a child or staff member feels ill and believes they have been directly exposed to Covid-19, the school is told to call NHS 111, or 999 in an emergency.

Millions of people have been told they could have to "self-isolate" by staying at home for a fortnight if the number of cases rises past 100, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

Anyone who has returned from Wuhan and the Hubei Province should self-quarantine - stay indoors - for 14 days regardless of whether they have any symptoms. People who have been there should also contact the NHS on 111.

Returning travellers should also self-quarantine if they have come back from Iran, lockdown areas in northern Italy, special care zones in South Korea, other parts of mainland China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, norther Italy (anywhere north of Pisa, Florence and Rimini), Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar or Vietnam.

Anyone who has returned from those countries or believes they are suffering with symptoms are told not to go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital but to stay at home and self-isolate.

The NHS also has released advice so people can detect any signs of the virus in their symptoms.

These symptoms include a cough, a high temperature or feeling short of breath.

The NHS says people with symptoms should not visit a GP or A&E to avoid contamination risks.

More information from the NHS on the coronavirus can be found HERE

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