Coronavirus - important advice

Coronavirus (Covid-19) information and advice - read our rundown of some of the frequently asked questions and what to do if you or your loved ones become unwell and start showing potential symptoms.
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What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

• a cough

• a high temperature

• shortness of breath

But these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu. 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.

When do symptoms show? It appears that most people who develop symptoms do so on or around day five. Anyone who is symptom-free by day 12 is unlikely to get symptoms, but they may still be infectious carriers. Does everyone show symptoms? Experts believe most people who get the infection will only have mild symptoms. Some will be asymptomatic, i.e. carry the virus but experience no symptoms. If you have symptoms

What do I do if I think you might have coronavirus?

Stay at home If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild 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.

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital with mild symptoms. You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you’re staying at home. The NHS will not be testing those that are self-isolating with mild symptoms. The government continues to advise schools should remain open. Stay at home guidance has now been produced and is available here

Particular care to minimise their social contact has been recommended for:

  • People over the age of 70
  • Other adults who would normally be advised to have the flu vaccine (such as those with chronic diseases)
  • Pregnant women

What do I do if my symptoms worsen? After 7 days contact NHS 111 If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999 In summary contact NHS 111 if: • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home • your condition gets worse • your symptoms do not get better after 7 days

Only call 111 if you cannot get help online. Protecting yourself and others How can I avoid catching or spreading coronavirus?

Do the following more often than usual: • 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 containing at least 60% alcohol 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 straight away and wash your hands afterwards Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell If possible, stay away from work and other events if you feel unwell. Treatment Is there a specific treatment for coronavirus? There is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus. Current treatment options aim to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the illness. You are advised to stay in isolation and away from other people until you've recovered. Do I need antibiotics? Antibiotics do not help They do not work against viruses.

Seeing my GP /doctor /dentist Should I still visit my GP? Do not visit your GP if you have symptoms of coronavirus. For other conditions or medical checks etc, you may be able to arrange to have a telephone or online consultation instead. Call your GP practice and ask.

Should I still attend my dental appointment? Please call your dental practice to check, or look online, and follow their advice.

Attending hospital for other appointments Should I still attend the hospital if I have an appointment booked? Yes. Hospitals and services are running as normal, please do attend your planned appointment as usual. The hospital will notify you should they need to change your appointment. If you find that your planned ‘village car service‘ or ‘community transport’ option is no longer available, give us a call.

Should I visit the Accident and Emergency department? Do not visit the Emergency department at the Hospital if you have symptoms of coronavirus. No. Follow the advice above if you have symptoms. NHS 111 has advised me to attend A&E, where do I go? Following national guidance all hospitals are putting in place NHS 111 pods at their emergency departments, so that anyone attending hospital with symptoms of the virus can be kept isolated from other patients and avoid causing unnecessary pressure in A&E. Please follow the signs that are in place.


What is the difference between coronavirus and Covid-19? Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) Covid-19 is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans.

What is self-isolation, and how do I do it? Self-isolation is about protecting others and slowing down the spread of COVID-19. It is very important that anyone who has the virus, or might have been exposed to it, limits the number of people they come into contact with. This is the most effective way of preventing the coronavirus from spreading. Some further information is available. Read more here

What are Contain and Delay phases There are 4 stages to the Government’s planned response to coronavirus. Stage one was 'contain' which proved effective at identifying individual cases and tracing close contacts. Moving to the second ‘delay’ phase involves trying to slow the spread of the virus and push wider transmission to the summer months when there is less pressure on the NHS. More information about the Government’s planned response can be found here

What is social distancing?

Social distancing means trying to avoid contact with other people.

It means spending less time in public places, where a lot of people are around.

The government wants:

  • People to start working from home wherever possible
  • All unnecessary travel stopped
  • Pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues to be avoided
  • Anyone living with someone who has a cough or a temperature to stay at home for 14 days

Within days, it expects to announce measures for people in at-risk groups to stay at home for 12 weeks. This affects pregnant women, people aged over 70 and those with underlying health conditions.

What should I do if I have returned from holiday? If you have returned from overseas please refer to this page for more information

Is there guidance for employees, employers and businesses? Yes. Guidance is available here for employees, employers and businesses in providing advice about coronavirus.

Is there guidance for the English language sector? Yes. Guidance has been produced by English UK and is available here.


To speak to someone at Healthwatch for support, advice and information between 9am and 4pm Monday to Friday call the number in your area; Bristol 07944 369180, North Somerset 01275 851400 or South Gloucestershire 07944 373235

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