The situation is changing frequently and so it is important that people have access to up to date information. For the latest updates please go to the coronavirus page of NHS.UK. To learn about the government response visit GOV.UK

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus. The UK is extremely well prepared for these types of outbreaks – we are one of the first countries in the world to develop a test for the new virus.

The symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a cough
  • a high temperature
  • 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.

There are things you can do to help stop viruses 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 immediately
  • 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

If you think you might have coronavirus, do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do.