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Health update

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Page updated at 10:00 22nd Feb 2020

UK NHS advice - Do not go to your GP surgery, hospital or pharmacy if you have symptoms of coughing or fever or shortness of breath and:

  • you’ve been to an area with a risk of the new coronavirus (check the list of countries here) and have become unwell within 2 weeks of returning, or
  • you’ve been in contact with someone with a confirmed case of coronavirus

Call 111, stay indoors and avoid close contact with other people. Tell 111 about any recent travel and any symptoms you have.

Watch our video below for information on how to stop the spread of viruses.

As an international healthcare provider, we’re keeping a very close eye on things and will be updating our information regularly as it comes in from the World Health Organization.

The novel coronavirus (referred to as COVID-2019) has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization.

If you think you might be at risk of having been infected by COVID-19, call your doctor for advice. Call 111 if you’re in the UK. Please try to stay indoors and avoid contact with other people.

If you think you have coronavirus, are at risk of becoming infected, or have recently travelled to Wuhan City in China, do not use the symptom checker.

This page is updated daily and the updates relating to the confirmation of cases are based on the WHO situation reports, which are officially released the day after they are confirmed. As a result please note the map is accurate as of yesterday’s official report.

As of 10:00 CET 21st February 2020, cases have been confirmed in China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Philippines, Thailand, Nepal, Sri Lanka, India, USA, Canada, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, Belgium, United Arab Emirates, Egypt

What is the novel coronavirus (COVID-2019)?

Coronavirus is a type of virus that causes respiratory tract infections, such as colds and pneumonia. Although coronaviruses usually cause mild symptoms, they can (on rare occasions) cause life-threatening breathing difficulties and death.

Although the current situation is constantly evolving, to date, the most severe symptoms from the novel coronavirus are seen in people over the age of 60 or those with long-term health conditions, as they are more susceptible to complications.


What we know so far.

Watch the video

Where did the disease originate?

Coronaviruses are common amongst animals. They’re ‘zoonotic’, meaning that they can be spread between humans and animals. .

The novel coronavirus (COVID-2019) is believed to originate from bats or snakes. Research into where the infection started is ongoing, but a major source of the outbreak has been traced to a large seafood and animal market in Wuhan city, China.

The majority of people initially infected by COVID-2019 had contact with the market in Wuhan city. However it appears that the infection is also capable of spreading from person to person.

How does the novel coronavirus (COVID-2019) spread?

Exact details of how COVID-2019 spreads between humans aren’t yet clear, however it’s likely to be similar to other coronaviruses, through:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Contact with infected secretions

What are the signs and symptoms of the novel coronavirus (COVID-2019)?

Typical symptoms include a fever and/or cough.

A small number may go on to develop difficulty breathing and chest tightness, requiring admission to hospital.

People with severe symptoms might need admission to intensive care for help breathing.

How is coronavirus treated?

Most people infected with coronaviruses are likely to either have no symptoms at all or have mild ones, requiring no treatment.

Currently there is no evidence from studies to recommend any specific treatment for COVID-2019 and, as it is a virus, antibiotics will not work.

In rare and severe cases of COVID-2019, treatment includes admission to hospital and care that’s focused on supporting the person through the illness, whilst their immune system works to clear it.

Who is at risk of being infected with COVID-2019?

You may be at risk of infection if:

  • You’ve travelled from Wuhan, Hubei Province in China
  • You’ve been in contact with someone that has a confirmed COVID-2019 infection
  • You’ve been in a healthcare facility in a country where hospital-associated COVID-2019 infections have been reported

Preventing infection with coronavirus

The best way to prevent infection and spread of viruses is by practicing good hand hygiene and following the usual recommended actions to prevent the spread of respiratory infections.

  1. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water. If soap and water is not available, you can use an alcohol based hand gel
  2. When coughing or sneezing, do so either into a tissue or into the crease of your elbow. Dispose of used tissues immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  3. Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
  4. Try to stay away from people who are unwell
  5. Stay at home if you are feeling unwell

Should I wear a face mask?

The World Health Organization advises that face masks should only be worn if you have symptoms (such as coughing or sneezing), if you are suspected to have COVID-19, or if you’re caring for someone that is infected with the virus.

If using a face mask, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before putting it on and follow these steps:

  1. Make sure the mask covers over your nose and mouth completely, and don’t touch the mask once it is on
  2. If you need to touch your mask, clean your hands before and after
  3. If the mask becomes damp, replace it with a new one
  4. When taking your mask off, don’t touch the front of it
  5. Throw used face masks away immediately into a closed bin and don’t forget to wash your hands after

Wearing a face mask is not enough to prevent infection and spread without also taking the precautionary measures mentioned earlier.

What to do if you think you’re at risk?

If you have symptoms such as cough, fever and shortness of breath and think you have been exposed to COVID-19 in the last 14 days, call your doctor and try to stay at home.

If you’ve travelled from Wuhan

or Hubei province in China in the last 14 days, call your doctor even if you don’t have any symptoms.

Your doctor will assess the likelihood of infection by phone or video call and refer you to a specialist, if needed, for tests.

For UK residents - Call 111 (or 0300 200 7885 if in Wales).
Please click here to read the NHS Coronavirus (COVID-19) page for UK-specific information.