First thing to do is to try to avoid catching coronavirus by following the advice on hand washing, catching sneezes and coughs and good hygiene and cleaning. Avoid contact with large numbers of people and stay 2 metres apart when contact is necessary.
If you fall within the vulnerable group, early self isolation and a determined approach not to expose yourself to the virus is your best course of action.
Most people (over 80%) who get the coronavirus will only experience mild symptoms and can treat themselves in isolation in their own home. See below for advice on how to do this.
UK health officials have moved into the second phase of their response to the coronavirus outbreak .
In the “delay” phase measures will be ramped up to slow the spread of the virus.
Downing Street have now formally announced we are in the delay stage of tackling the virus.
Stay at home for 14 days if you have either:
You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home.
Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you’re staying at home.
There is currently no cure for coronavirus (COVID-19) and treatment can only be given to counter act the symptoms. (Please note we are not medical professionals and we ask you to consult with NHS advice to confirm it is the same as ours)
We have been told there is “no need” for members of the public to stockpile food or medicine.
The government has said it has a stockpile of important medicines and protective equipment, to counter any impact to global supply chains.
“This is going to be… a marathon not a sprint,” Prof Whitty said.
“There is nothing in the current environment that would rationally lead someone to want to go out and stock up on stuff,” Prof Whitty added.
Prof Whitty said consequences of the delay phase included:
Pushing the peak of cases “further away from the winter pressures on the NHS” so that there was “more capacity to respond”
Buying time to allow the UK to improve its response or develop counter measures such as drugs, vaccines and diagnostics.
There may be a seasonal element of the virus – so if the peak was delayed to spring or summer, the “natural rate” of transmission could be lower and the NHS would be in a better position to cope.
Prof Whitty said the early stages of the delay phase were similar to the contain phase, and involved identifying cases of the virus, isolating patients, and tracing anyone who had been in contact with them.
“As time moves by, we then may start to move into the more socially determined actions… the kind of measures we can do to delay things which involve changes to society,” he said.
He said it was likely that later in the response, elderly people and those with pre-existing health conditions would be advised to “have some degree of isolation from more public environments” and may be told, for example, to “avoid crowded areas”.
The UK’s early response to the virus, which causes Covid-19, was based on the spread being controlled in China, with some minor outbreaks in other countries.
Prof Whitty said in the worst case scenario of an epidemic in the UK, critical care beds would be “under pressure at quite an early stage”.
If you have had the virus or know someone who has speak with your GP.