COVID-19 Common questions


Coronavirus FAQs

COVID-19 is a coronavirus causing respiratory disease, which means it affects the lungs.

How did it start?

The first reported cases of the virus came from Wuhan, China.

The source of the virus is not known but it is believed to be a coronavirus found in animals which has been transferred to humans.

How does it spread?

While it is not known for definite, it is believed that COVID-19, like other coronaviruses, is spread through respiratory droplets, meaning that coughing and sneezing cause the spread.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath

More serious symptoms include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • Bluish lips and face

What should I do if I have any of these symptoms?

If you have these symptoms, you should self-isolate for fourteen days to recover.

If you suffer from some of the serious symptoms, you should seek urgent medical attention.

What should I do if I may have come into contact with infected people or have returned from an infected area?

You should self-isolate for at least seven days to see if any of the symptoms mentioned above develop.

What steps should I take to prevent catching COVID-19?

You should wash your hands regularly throughout the day for at least twenty seconds with soap or with our advanced hand sanitiser and regularly clean surfaces.

You should also avoid contact with people who are ill.

Learn more about protecting yourself and others from the virus here.

I have or may have become infected with COVID-19. How can I prevent spreading it on to other people?

If you definitely have the virus, you should remain at home to recover if you do not require medical attention.

If you only suspect that you may have the virus, you should sneeze or cough into a tissue and dispose of the tissue in the bin straight away, this will help to stop the spread to others if you do have it.

Where possible, you should try to remain at home; this can be helped by having friends and family bring food and shopping to you and working from home if your employer offers it as an option.

Do NOT visit your local GP or a hospital for an evaluation. Instead, if you have symptoms of the virus (high temperature or continued cough) the NHS have advised to use the 111 coronavirus service. Only call 111 if you are unable to get the help you need online, and for any life-threatening emergencies you should always call 999. 

How can I treat the symptoms?

There is no cure for the virus and antibiotics won't work against it either.

Unless you suffer from any of the serious symptoms, you should remain at home to recover rather than heading to a hospital or your local GP.

Discover more about coronavirus treatment here.

How dangerous is COVID-19?

Everyone who contracts the virus will experience it differently with effects ranging from mild illnesses to severe illness and death.

The elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions may be more vulnerable but people of all ages can catch the disease and can potentially suffer complications.

If you suffer from some of the serious symptoms, you should seek urgent medical attention.

Do I need to wear a face mask?

It is not recommended that you should wear a face mask unless you either have the virus or are caring for someone who does. Learn more

How many confirmed cases are there in the UK?

The UK Government website constantly updates to provide statistics for COVID-19 cases in the UK.

Helpful links