Published on: 12 Feb 2020 12:14

Written by: Maryhill Housing

The coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. Although it remains mostly confined to China, the coronavirus has now reached as far as the US, France, Germany, Australia, Japan, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Finland and the UK.

This current strain of coronavirus is known as novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Typical symptoms include a high temperature or fever and a cough that may progress to severe pneumonia causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

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.

The UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the public from low to moderate however the risk to individuals remains low.

As this strain of coronavirus is new, it is not yet known how it spreads from person to person. Similar viruses spread in cough droplets. It is highly unlikely that the coronavirus can be spread through packages from affected countries or through food.

There is currently no vaccine for coronavirus however there are things which we can all do to prevent it from spreading.

You can reduce your risk of getting/spreading coronavirus by:

  • avoiding direct hand contact with your eyes, nose and mouth;

  • avoiding contact with people that have a respiratory illness, and avoid using their personal items such as their mobile phone;

  • maintaining good hand hygiene, including washing your hands with soap or sanitiser after coughing, sneezing or going to the toilet, and prior to eating and drinking;

  • covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing with disposable tissues and disposing of them in nearest bin after use.

Based on the advice of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), the UK Chief Medical Officers are advising anyone who has travelled to the UK from mainland China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the last 14 days to stay indoors and call their GP or NHS 24 on 111 immediately even if they don’t have symptoms of the virus.

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