Most people will already know about the worldwide coronavirus outbreak, which has been the main news story since the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, at the end of December 2019. Since then, the outbreak has reached the UK and the number of infected people continues to rise. Below is some information about coronavirus, and links to websites where you can find the latest information.

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that are responsible for different illnesses, including the common cold. The latest outbreak started in an animal in China and was then transmitted to humans.

The current outbreak is a new strain of coronavirus called COVID-19, and has not been previously diagnosed in humans.

What are the symptoms?

The following is a list of common symptoms that may develop in the 14 days after exposure to someone who has COVID-19 infection:

  • A cough
  • A high temperature
  • Shortness of breath

If you are worried about symptoms, please call NHS 111 or go to the NHS 111 coronavirus advice website. Do not go directly to your GP or other healthcare environment.

What’s the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. This is particularly important after taking public transport.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home and work environment.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.


GOV.UK has published clear and printable instructions on handwashing techniques.

Further information

Key up-to-date information from the government:

Travel advice: