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Everything you need to know about COVID-19

Posted on March 2020 By Jamie Southwell

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About COVID-19

COVID-19 is a new illness caused by a member of the Coronavirus family that we've never encountered before. Originating in China, Wuhan, and officially declared a global pandemic by WHO (World Health Organisation), the virus primarily affects the lungs and airways.​

COVID-19 Symptoms

The symptoms of the COVID-19 Coronavirus are

  • A cough

  • A high temperature

  • Shortness of breath

These symptoms typically appear 2-14 days after exposure.

Whilst these are the symptoms of the Coronavirus, they're also shared by similar illnesses such as the cold and flu.

How to protect yourself and others

Washing your hands: Wet your hands using clean and warm running water then proceed to apply soap. Begin lathering the soap about your hands and make sure to get every area including between your fingers, the back of your hands, under your nails, and the palms of your hands. The advised amount of time to wash your hands for is at least 20-30 seconds.

When coughing or sneezing: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, then throw the used tissue away as soon as possible and wash your hands afterwards. Alternatively if you don't have a tissue, you should cough or sneeze on the inside of your elbow instead of your hands.

Face masks: Using a face mask can offer a limited amount of protection against liquid droplets. This is only slightly useful as they aren't able to block smaller aerosol particles that can still manage to pass through the material of the mask.

Avoid touching your face: Even if you're using a face mask, one of the most common ways for infection is by touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid doing this after using public transport or being in public areas for long periods of time without washing your hands.

Public gatherings: As of right now, the government has issued a strict rule stating that no more than two individuals per public gathering and they advise to instead use technology as a means of keeping in touch.

Who are those most at risk?

The following groups of people are considered most at risk

  • People over 70 years old.

  • Pregnant women.

  • Adults that are typically advised to take flu vaccines.

Official advice from the government for these individuals is for them to be "largely shielded from social contact for 12 weeks" onward from 23/03/20.

Even though pregnant women are included in this, it's been proven that babies born from mother's with Coronavirus, don't pass it on

Am I allowed to self isolate?

You're allowed to self isolate whilst contacting NHS 111.

You only need to continue to self isolate if PHE, NHS 111 or a medical professional advises you to do so. In order to provide your line manager with the correct form of information and proof, you'll need to obtain the name of individual who advised you to remain self isolated and make a note of the time and date.

How do I self isolate?

The safest place for you to self isolate is within the confines of your own home and generally away from human contact, this is where you should remain for the duration of your quarantine.

When remaining in self isolation, you shouldn't go to work, school, public areas, and don't use any forms of public transportation or private travel.

For anything you require that's outside of your home, you should try to contact someone you know to bring it to you, people like family, friends, or even delivery services.

What if I begin to notice symptoms whilst outside of my home?

Should you come into contact and become infected with the Coronavirus whilst outside of your home, the official advise is to not visit any GP surgery or hospital in case of accidentally spreading the disease to further people.

Ideally you should find a room that's isolated from other people, then proceed to ask for help if required, but remain at least two meters away from the person helping you.

Open a window for ventilation if you're able to, yet try to avoid touching as many objects as possible, and call 111 for further advice.

How long should I remain in self isolation for?

Officials have said to remain in self isolation for at least 14 days to help lower the possibility of spreading infection.

Am I supposed to send my child to school?

As it stands, regular children are indefinitely taken out of school, however the children considered an exception to this are those of 'key workers'. If you fall under the falling list, then it's advised for you to continue sending your child to school.

'Key workers' are as follows

  • Health and social care workers. This includes, but isn't limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, care workers, and other front-line health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributors of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.

  • Educational workers. This includes childcare, support and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.

  • Key public service workers. This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.

  • Local and national government. This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response, or delivering essential public services, such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies.

  • Food and other necessary goods sellers. This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery, as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).

  • Public safety and national security. This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.

  • Transportation providers. This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.

  • Utilities, communication and financial services providers.This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.

To confirm whether you fall under one of the following categories or not, it's advised for you to speak to your employer and check that based on their business continuity arrangements, whether your specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service.

If your school is closed, then please contact your local authority, who will seek to redirect you to a local school in your area that your child, or children, can attend.

Further information from trusted sources: