What is COVID-19

The World Health Organization has declared that the outbreak of coronavirus is a pandemic. The UK chief medical officers have raised the risk to the UK to high.

This outbreak will pose challenges for many workplaces. ACAS has published advice on coronavirus and the workplace here.

Public Health England (PHE) and the NHS keep their advice and information on the outbreak under constant review.

The government is regularly updating its advice on coronavirus here.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.

The symptoms

COVID-19 presents with flu-like symptoms including a fever, a cough or difficulty breathing. It primarily affects your lungs and airways.

Stay at home for 7 days if you have either:

  • a high temperature
  • a new continuous cough

This will help to protect others in your community while you are infectious.

You don’t need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you’re staying at home.

Preventative measures

The government has advised everyone to stop all non-essential contact with others and to stop all unnecessary travel. Everyone who is able to should, therefore, work from home.

The government also advised against attending any social venues where you are likely to be in close contact with others, such as pubs and restaurants.

It also announced new measures to take if you or the people you live with develop symptoms.

Here are some simple things you can do to minimise risk:

  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • Maintain social distancing – at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands. If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow, rather than your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • 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
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