COVID19 Guidance Sheet

Coronavirus Information – COVID-19: Guidance

A coronavirus is a type of virus. As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world, and we know them as flu viruses. COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus (flu) first identified in Wuhan City, China in January 2020.

The incubation period of COVID-19 is between 2 to 14 days. This means that if a person remains well 14 days after contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus, they have not been infected. Coronavirus is a group of viruses like H1N1 and H1N2 and Sars and Mers which are all Flu Viruses.

Signs or Symptoms of the COVID-19 Virus

The following symptoms may develop in the 14 days after exposure to someone who has COVID-19 infection:

  • cough
  • difficulty in breathing
  • fever

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 seasonal cold and flu. Generally, these infections 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.

How long the virus can survive

How long any respiratory virus survives will depend on a number of factors, for example:

  • what surface the virus is on
  • whether it is exposed to sunlight
  • differences in temperature and humidity
  • exposure to cleaning products

Under most circumstances, the amount of infectious virus on any contaminated surfaces is likely to have decreased significantly by 72 hours. Once similar viruses are transferred to hands, they survive for very short lengths of time. Regular cleaning of frequently touched hard surfaces and hands will, therefore, help to reduce the risk of infection.

How COVID-19 is spread

There are two main routes by which people can spread COVID-19:

  • infection can be spread to people who are nearby by a cough or sneeze (within 2 metres) and could be inhaled into the lungs.
  • it’s also possible that someone may become infected by touching a surface, object or the hand of an infected person that has been contaminated with respiratory secretions and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes (such as touching doorknob or shaking hands then touching own face) Our current understanding is that the virus doesn’t live on surfaces for longer than 72 hours.

Preventing the spread of infection

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus.

Public Health England (PHE) recommends that the following general cold and flu precautions are taken to help prevent people from catching and spreading COVID-19:


  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze. See Catch it, Bin it, Kill it
  • put used tissues in the Bin straight away
  • wash your hands with soap and water often for approx. 20 seconds – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available, but not instead of, and remember to wash your hand when getting to work and when you arrive home.
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • If you hot desk, make sure you clean down the keyboard mouse and desktop with an antiseptic wipe before and after you work on it to decrease the risk of infection.


  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

What to do next

If you are worried about symptoms, please call NHS 111, or go online to Do not go directly to your GP or other healthcare environment. When you call 111 or make contact via the website, they will give you guidance about self-isolating

 If there’s a chance you could have coronavirus, you may be asked to stay away from other people (self-isolate).

This means you should:

  • stay at home
  • not go to work, school or public places
  • not use public transport or taxis
  • ask friends, family members or delivery services to do errands for you
  • try to avoid visitors to your home – it’s OK for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food

You may need to do this for up to 14 days to help reduce the possible spread of infection.

Treatment for coronavirus

There is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus. Antibiotics do not help, as they do not work against viruses.

Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the illness. You’ll need to stay in isolation away from other people until you’ve recovered. We have four steps for treatment:

To help you get better more quickly:

  • rest and sleep
  • keep warm
  • take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature and treat aches and pains
  • drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration (your pee should be light yellow or clear)

Even if you are feeling better, you will still need to self-isolate for the full 14 days.