Coronavirus has been branded the “worst public health crisis for a generation” by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson today. Speaking at a press conference, the PM went on to say that “many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time”. His chilling words mark the beginning of the government’s move from “contain” to “delay”.
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The most important part of the plan, which takes effect from tomorrow, is to self-isolate at home for seven days if you experience mild symptoms.
According to the NHS, mild symptoms include a high temperature or a new continuous cough.
The UK’s Chief Medical Officer expanded on this advice, advising people to not call NHS 111 online coronavirus service if you experience these symptoms but to self-isolate at home.
You should only call the helpline if you:
- Feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
- Your condition gets worse
- Your symptoms do not get better after seven days
Seven day self-isolation protects elderly and helps to reduce the rate of transmission, explained the Chief Medical Officer.
It can also buy precious time to develop countermeasures, he said.
The seven day logic is based on current evidence, which shows that infected people tend to recover after this period of time, noted the public health official.
In the meantime, there are a number of hygiene tips you should follow to reduce the risk of catching and spreading virus.
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The most important step is to wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds.
You should repeat this process when you get home or to work, says the NHS.
Other key tips include:
- Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- 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 and wash your hands afterwards
Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
“Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean,” warns the health body.
Coranvirus – what we know so far
Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China.
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The pathogen is believed to have been transmitted from a bat but specific details are yet to be confirmed.
Because it’s a new illness, it is not known exactly how coronavirus spreads from person to person.
Similar viruses are spread in cough droplets, however,
Typical symptoms of coronavirus include fever and a cough that may progress to a severe pneumonia causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.
There is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus.
Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the illness.
You’ll need to stay in isolation, away from other people, until you have recovered.
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