In the aftermath of the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, you may be contemplating how to ensure your safety and what steps to take. The government has provided guidance on how you can contribute to controlling the virus. We are also here to address any questions you may have and assist you in looking after yourself and your family.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is an illness that impacts the lungs and airways, potentially leading to pneumonia in severe cases. It is classified within the family of viruses known as coronaviruses, which also includes viruses causing common colds and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

When did COVID-19 start?

Unearthed in 2019, this viral strain had not been observed in humans previously. The COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March 2020 and persists as an ongoing health crisis worldwide. While the majority of individuals contracting COVID-19 won't develop severe illness, the virus can, on occasion, lead to life-threatening complications that require hospitalization.

As a result, it is crucial for everyone to take precautions to prevent infection. This is especially vital for individuals classified as clinically extremely vulnerable.

Who is more vulnerable for catching coronavirus?

You are at increased risk (clinically vulnerable) of coronavirus if you:
• are 60 or over
• have a health condition
• are pregnant
You are at most risk (clinically extremely vulnerable) from the coronavirus if you:
• have had an organ transplant
• are having certain types of cancer treatment
• have blood or bone marrow cancer, such as leukaemia
• have a severe lung condition, such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma
• have a condition or taking medicines that increase the chance of getting infections
• are pregnant and have a serious heart condition

This list may not include everyone who is at a high risk, and it may change. The UK government and NHS have more information and have also issued guidance on the risk to the public as well as how you can protect yourself.

If you’ve received a letter from the NHS informing you that you’re clinically extremely vulnerable, the guidance for how to protect against coronavirus will be slightly different. This is because your risk of serious complications from the virus is higher than for other people.

How can I stop the spread?

Given that COVID-19 is a novel disease, the precise mechanism of its person-to-person transmission is not fully comprehended. However, analogous viral infections are commonly transmitted through respiratory droplets released during activities such as coughing.To navigate the current situation, it is crucial to acquaint yourself with local guidelines. Keep in mind that these guidelines may vary based on your location, whether you reside in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, or are subject to a local lockdown.

To help stop the spread of coronavirus everyone must:
• Travel safely
• Only meet indoors with a group of up to 6 people or a group of any size from 2 households
• Wear a face covering in enclosed places
• Work from home if you can
• Wash your hands regularly
• If you have symptoms get a test and stay at home

Coronavirus symptoms

Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms:
• high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
• a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
• loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell and taste different to normal.
You can treat symptoms at home by resting, drinking lots of water, and taking over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol

What to do when you get Coronavirus

If you have symptoms and have tested positive, or had an unclear result or did not have a test but have symptoms you should self-isolate for at least 10 days. You should also self-isolate if you tested positive but haven’t had symptoms. You should self-isolate for 10 days if you live with (or are in a support bubble with) someone who has symptoms and tested positive, had an unclear result or did not have test or have tested positive but not had symptoms.

This means you have to stay home, and you cannot go outside to exercise or buy food. It’s a good idea to contact anyone you’ve been in close contact within the last 48 hours to let them know that you’re having symptoms.

If you're displaying symptoms, you can order a Coronavirus (COVID-19) swab test kit.