What's the risk of catching coronavirus in the UK?
The NHS and Public Health England are well prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases. The NHS has put in place measures to ensure the safety of all patients and NHS staff while also ensuring services are available to the public as normal.
The UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the public from low to moderate. But the risk to individuals remains low. If you have arrived back to the UK from mainland China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau within 14 days following the specific advice for returning travellers.
Health professionals are working to contact anyone who has been in close contact with people who have coronavirus.
How coronavirus is spread
Like the common cold, coronavirus (also known as Covid-19) infection usually occurs through close contact with a person with novel coronavirus via cough and sneezes or hand contact. You can also be infected by touching contaminated surfaces if you do not wash your hands.
The risk of being in close contact with a person with coronavirus or contaminated surfaces in very low at the moment, as members of the public who have visited Wuhan, Hubei province, China are currently in isolation.
Any NHS equipment that comes into contact with suspected cases is thoroughly cleaned as appropriate. Specific guidance has also been shared with NHS staff to help safeguard them and others.
Symptoms of coronavirus
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
- a cough
- a high temperature
- shortness of breath
How to avoid catching or spreading germs?
- 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.
When to call 111
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 Macao 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.