Coronavirus (COVID‑19)

The latest advice, guidance and information as we hear it
- last updated 16th March 2020, 10:00 GMT

The latest advice, guidance and information

It's natural to be concerned about the spread of the virus. The situation is changing daily and as an international healthcare provider, we need to keep a close eye on all developments as they evolve, sharing information, and offering advice and support where and when we can. This page will be updated regularly with news, helpful links and any new information as we hear it. For general advice and symptom checking please use the NHS online coronavirus service

 

What is coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Dubbed "2019-nCoV" by scientists, it is a novel coronavirus which is a member of the coronavirus family. As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world. However, 2019-nCoV is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

 

What are the symptoms?
It usually causes mild symptoms including fever, cough and shortness of breath. However, it can, rarely, cause breathing difficulties and death. The most severely affected people to date have been the elderly and those with long-term health conditions.

 

How is it being treated? 
Work is underway to make an effective vaccine to prevent coronavirus infection, but it will be some time before it is available. Nor is there a specific treatment: the main focus is alleviating the symptoms. Another key aspect of the treatment is isolating those with confirmed coronavirus from others to prevent further spread of the virus.

Coronavirus and your mental health

It's completely normal to feel scared, anxious and uncertain. Our mental health guide provides support and advice to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Read more

Wash hands for at least 20 seconds
with warm water and soap

Try to avoid contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms

Cover nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing and sneezing

What we know so far

We're keeping a close eye on the situation as it evolves,
sharing information and offering advice and support where
we can. We've created this page to share everything
we know so far and what it may mean for you.

Read more

The latest updates from the UK government

Stay at home, save lives

  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

 

Full guidance on staying at home and away from others


Announcements:

 

Free online training in delivering successful video consultations

This is a testing time for healthcare. But we know that the best patient outcomes happen when industry experts come together to share ideas, knowledge and resources. If you're a GP looking to improve your video consultation skills, our free webinar will give you all the tools and tips you need.

Free online training webinar

What should I do if I have symptoms?

If you live alone

You will need to stay at home for seven days if you have developed either a high temperature or a new continuous cough. Please note that for most people, coronavirus will be a mild illness. 

If you live with others

If you live with others, they will need to stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days from the day the first person develops symptoms. If anyone else in the household gets symptoms, they will need to stay at home for seven days from when their symptoms started, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day home isolation period.

Why do I have to stay at home if I don’t have symptoms?

  • People living in close proximity in a household are likely to pass on the infection or be infected already. The aim of staying at home for 14 days is to reduce the risk of infecting others in the community.
  • If possible, try to move more vulnerable people (such as those over the age of 70 and people will underlying health conditions) elsewhere for the isolation period. If this is not possible, then try not to be around them during the duration.

Dos and don'ts

  • It's very important that you do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital if you have coronavirus symptoms.
  • Do not contact 111 to advise them you are staying at home.
  • At present, there is no need to test for coronavirus if you remain at home.
  • Dial 999 for medical emergencies.
  • Only contact the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if you are unable to cope with your symptoms at home, or you feel your condition is worsening, or there is no improvement in your symptoms after 7 days. Please only call 111 if you do not have access to the internet.

 

Useful links

NHS information and advice

NHS 111 Online coronavirus guide

The Department of Health and Social Care

Coronavirus (COVID-19): latest information and advice (Gov.uk)

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) travel advice (WHO)

Coronavirus action plan and advice

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information leaflet

Coronavirus: Parent information for newborn babies

Illness in newborn babies - how to keep your baby safe and healthy 

 

Frequently asked questions

I think I may be in an at risk group. What must I do?

We are monitoring the situation closely and are tracking what the government have informed us. If you usually require a flu jab it seems quite possible you will be in the at-risk group. The government’s guidance advises: "We are advising those who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures.”. 

This group includes those aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions), or those under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (i.e. anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds):

  • Chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
  • Chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
  • Chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
  • Diabetes
  • Problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
  • A weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
  • Being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
  • Those who are pregnant
What does ‘particularly stringent’ mean?

For now, NHS 111 advises:

Do:

- Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- Always wash your hands when you get home or into work
- 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
- Avoid close contact with people who have symptoms of coronavirus
- Only travel on public transport if you need to
- Work from home, if you can
- Avoid social activities, such as going to pubs, restaurants, theatres and cinemas
- Avoid events with large groups of people
- Use phone, online services, or apps to contact your GP surgery or other NHS services

Don't:

- Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
- Do not have visitors to your home, including friends and family
- You also can monitor for new document releases at

 

You also can monitor for new document releases at  https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

I think I may be in the ‘extremely at-risk’ group, what must I do?

From the 21st March, guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 was published: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19#what-should-you-do-if-you-develop-symptoms-of-coronavirus-covid-19

People falling into this extremely vulnerable group include:

1. Solid organ transplant recipients
2. People with specific cancers:
- Cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer
- Cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
- People having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
- People having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
- People who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs

3. People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD
4. People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell)
5. People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increased risk of infection
6. Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired

From 23rd March 2020, the NHS are contacting all patients in this group to strongly advise them to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks from the day they receive their letter. Please note that this period of time could change.

Can I get a prescription on the NHS?

We recommend you follow the https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19

As of 17th March when this answer was written, this says you should call 111 if you are so ill that you've stopped doing all of your usual daily activities.  This is further clarified as follows – “We are checking to see if you feel so ill that you can't do anything you usually would, such as watch TV, use your phone, read or get out of bed.”

I am self-isolating with a cough and or fever. I have asthma and want to know when I should be worried about my breathing?

There is no official advice as to when you should be worried about your breathing, but it is worth you looking out for worsening respiratory features to look for that are beyond what you have experienced before (assuming no history of respiratory arrest (stopping breathing)) – such as:

  • breathing rate rising above its normal rate,
  • breathing difficulty,
  • worsening wheezing,
  • heart rate rising.

In these instances call 111, or if it feels life is at risk then call 999.

I can’t get a Doctor Care Anywhere appointment today. What are my options?

Have a read of our Coronavirus FAQs.

If your GP surgery is open, many GP surgeries have moved to ‘total triage’ appointments which means your GP may be available to consult with you remotely.  Every system is extremely busy so they, like us, may be at capacity.

Beyond this, if you are worried your health is deteriorating please visit www.111.nhs.uk/covid-19 or call 111.

Can Doctor Care Anywhere organise coronavirus testing privately?

We don’t organise these at this time. We are aware of some stories of private healthcare providers advertising test kits for sale, but can’t give you any more details about these services.

 As a company we are following the government advice -  which is testing is reserved for those that require overnight admission to hospital, and you can identify whether or not you are unwell enough to merit a further assessment for possible hospital admission at  https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19 or by calling 111.

 

See all FAQs

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