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CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) – Key information

Kinerva has extracted key information issued by UK government and WHO (World Health Organisation) into easily understandable key points.

Overview

Due to the number of confirmed Coronavirus cases globally, the World Health Organisations declares a public health emergency. The number of confirmed UK cases also grows to 163 (1) (as of 9 am on 06th March 2020) which is a growing concern.

As it is a new virus, the lack of immunity in the population (and the absence as yet of an effective vaccine) means that COVID-19 has the potential to spread extensively (3). The current data seem to show that we are all susceptible to catching this disease, and thus it is also more likely than not that the UK will be significantly affected. (3)

Who is at Risk?

So far, the data collected suggest that the risk of severe disease and death increases among elderly people and in people with underlying health conditions (in the same way as for seasonal flu). The majority of people with COVID-19 have recovered without the need for any specific treatment, as is the case for the common cold or seasonal flu. 

Illness is less common and usually less severe in younger adults (3). Children can be infected and can have a severe illness (3), but based on current data overall illness seems rarer in people under 20 years of age.

So far, there has been no obvious sign that pregnant women are more likely to be seriously affected (3).

Symptoms

Among those who become infected, some will exhibit no symptoms. Early data suggest that of those who develop an illness, the great majority (will have a mild-to-moderate, but self-limiting illness – similar to seasonal flu.

Some symptoms of coronavirus are (as detailed by NHS) (5):

  • 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.

It is, however, also clear that a minority of people who get COVID-19 will develop complications severe enough to require hospital care, most often pneumonia. In a small proportion of these, the illness may be severe enough to lead to death (3).

Precautions

“We all have a role to play in stopping this disease and that’s what this expanded campaign is all about – making sure the public knows exactly what they should be doing to keep themselves and others safe. Washing hands regularly is the single most important thing that an individual can do.” – Matt Hancock (Health and Social Care Secretary) (2)

Simple steps/changes you can make to protect yourself and reduce the chances of COVID-19 spreading further: –

  • Wash your hands (2) (Click here to see how to wash your hands properly and the difference it makes) when you get to work or arrive home
    after you blow your nose.
  • Cough or sneeze before you eat or handle food.
  • You should wash your hands for 20 seconds, using soap and water or hand sanitiser.
  • Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available (5)
  • 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 (5)
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell (5)
  • Do Not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
     

What to do if you need medical help

(5) NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do.

Use this service if:

  • You think you might have coronavirus
  • In the last 14 days you’ve been to a country or area with a high risk of coronavirus – see our coronavirus advice for travellers
  • You’ve been in close contact with someone with coronavirus
  • If any of the above describes your current situation please call 111 immediately. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Call 111 if you need to speak to someone. (5)

If in the worst-case situation, you are required to self-isolate you can find all the information on the NHS Coronavirus advice section by following this link https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/. There have been people that have made a recovery after being infected by COVID-19 just like you would with the flu or a cold.

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References