Guidance to staff: Coronavirus update

10th February 2020

The coronavirus situation continues to develop. Eight patients in England have tested positive and 1,106 negative. The government and public health authorities continue to take robust measures to contain the spread of the virus. The risk to individuals remains low.

The best contribution you can make is following the previous advice from the NHS, which remains unchanged. Please use the NHS poster if needed and answers to FAQs are below.

Where is the best authoritative advice?

The most authoritative information is on the Public Health England website (or equivalent website within other parts of the UK).

What is Coronavirus?

A coronavirus is a type of virus. As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world. Typical symptoms of coronavirus include fever and a cough that may progress to severe pneumonia, causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

Who can be affected?

Anyone can be affected but, 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.

What are the symptoms?

Based on current evidence, novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) presents with flu-like symptoms including a fever, a cough, or difficulty breathing. The current evidence is that most cases appear to be mild. Those who have died in Wuhan appear to have had pre-existing health conditions.

What can you do to prevent the virus spreading?

  • always carry tissues and use them to catch coughs and sneezes, and bin the tissue
  • wash hands with soap and water or use sanitiser gel to kill germs

How infectious is the virus?

It is not as contagious as SARS – a virus of the same family as novel coronavirus that also causes respiratory infections. It is much less likely to be transmitted to and infect another person when compared to other types of virus such as norovirus.

Would wearing a facemask help?

Current government advice is that facemasks are not required. Most available masks will not prevent the transmission of the virus. Good hand hygiene is the best protection.