Coronavirus: latest info & advice

From what has been seen so far, the new coronavirus affects the respiratory tract, causing flu-like symptoms and problems with breathing. In some people the virus has been very mild and indistinguishable from the common cold. However, some people have developed serious complications like pneumonia.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms include:

  • Dry cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Severe acute respiratory infection (including shortness of breath, dry cough or sore throat)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sweating and shivering
  • Headaches and muscle aches
  • Pneumonia symptoms – increasing cough and shortness of breath, sometimes with blood-stained or rust-coloured sputum.

Who is at risk?

You are at increased risk if you:

  • Have been in an area where the virus could have been acquired in the last fourteen days (e.g. Wuhan)
  • Have had contact with someone with a confirmed case of coronavirus in the last fourteen days
  • Are a healthcare worker caring for people with severe respiratory infections.
  • Have flu-like symptoms and have had contact with a hospital in an affected country or had contact with markets selling animals or fish in Hubei province in the last 14 days.

How do I get help if I think I might be affected?

According to Public Health England’s guidance:

  • You should stay indoors and avoid contact with other people
  • You should not attend your GP practice– they are not equipped to handle cases of this coronavirus as you will need specialist testing and care
  • You should call 111 for advice – make sure you let them know if you’re in one of the at risk groups above
  • You (or the clinician) should call ahead before going to hospital and let them know you think you may be affected
  • You should not use public transport or taxis to get to the hospital
  • You will need to be put into isolation away from other patients and staff
  • When you arrive, you will need to expect the team treating you to wear protective equipment until the infection has been ruled out or confirmed.

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