COVID-19 – How can you keep safe

Tom Williams /

Don’t forget the basic facts on how to keep yourself safe and healthy.

What is the best way to protect yourself and others from coronavirus?

  • Stay at home as often as possible and work from home if you can.
  • When outside your home, maintain a two-metre distance between yourself and others at all times.
  • If you are or have been out, frequently wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available.
  • At home, wash your hands before eating or drinking.
  • When coughing and sneezing cover your mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue – throw the tissue away immediately and wash your hands.

What is coronavirus?

The new coronavirus causes COVID-19, an infectious disease that has spread to more than 200 countries around the world.

Its symptoms are usually mild but some people who are infected can become very unwell.

COVID-19 can lead to pneumonia, as well as other life-threatening health complications, and has contributed to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people globally.

How do you know if you have coronavirus?

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a recent loss or change to your senses of smell and taste.
  • Most people who are infected with COVID-19 have a mild illness, and some have reported less common symptoms including tiredness, aches and pains, headache, congestion, sore throat, conjunctivitis and rash.

The only way of knowing for certain that you have coronavirus is by having a test.

Who is most at risk from coronavirus?

People are at high risk of becoming seriously unwell because of coronavirus where a health professional has classified them as clinically extremely vulnerable.

People fall into this group when they:

  • have had an organ transplant
  • are receiving treatment for cancer
  • have a severe lung condition
  • have a condition that leads to a very high risk of infections
  • are taking medicines that make it much more likely to get infections
  • have a serious heart condition and are pregnant.

You are at moderate risk of becoming very unwell if you are considered to be clinically vulnerable.

Those at moderate risk include people who are 70 or older or are pregnant, as well as people with the following health conditions:

  • a less severe lung condition, such as asthma or COPD, emphysema or bronchitis
  • heart disease
  • diabetes
  • chronic kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • a brain or nerve condition
  • a condition that can lead to a high risk of infection
  • a condition that requires you to take a medicine that can affect the immune system
  • if you are very obese.