What is coronavirus (Covid-19)?

Coronavisruses are a large family of viruses that cause a range of illnesses including the common cold. Coronavirus (Covid-19) is a new flu-like virus that is spreading around the world. The virus causes a new illness called Covid-19 that can affect your lungs and airways.

Coronavirus is mainly passed on by person-to-person contact. It is spread between people who are in close contact with one another and by droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can also spread through contact with a surface or object that has the virus on it. Cleaning helps minimise the spread.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms are a high temperature (feel hot to touch if you don’t have a thermometer) or a new continuous cough.

‘Continuous’ means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours. If you have these symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature or a new, continuous cough), visit www.111.nhs.uk/covid-19 to find out what to do.

What is ‘social distancing’?

Social distancing is one of the best ways to tackle the coronavirus and it applies to everyone. It’s really important to stay at home and limit any non-essential travel. Social distancing means reducing direct contact with other people, and aims to prevent sick people coming into contact with healthy people. It doesn’t mean we can’t ring friends and family, or walk the dog, but we must limit the time we spend outside our homes, staying at least two metres apart from anyone who isn’t part of our household.

What is ‘self-isolation’?

Self-isolation is when you need to stay at home because you have symptoms of coronavirus or live with someone who does. In this situation staying at home means you should not:

go to work, school or public areas

use public transport or taxis

have visitors, such as friends and family, in your home

go out to buy food or collect medicine – instead you can order them by phone or online, or ask someone else to drop them off at your home.

If you have symptoms of coronavirus you need to self-isolate for seven days. All other members of the household need to isolate for 14 days in case they also develop symptoms.

Take care of your health and wellbeing

It’s really important we all take extra care of our health and wellbeing. Staying at home or having to avoid people for long periods of time can really affect your mood, so try to stay mentally and physically active.

You can do this by keeping in touch with friends and family over the phone or social media. You can also do things you enjoy such as reading, cooking, other indoor hobbies or listening to the radio or watching TV.

There are plenty of books and free online resources such as the NHS website and YouTube that have ideas of how stay active at home, and just as important, how to keep children occupied. It’s also important to get some fresh air too – open the windows, go out in the garden if you have one or take a quick walk if you aren’t self-isolating.

This sort of incident can cause undue pressure and anxiety. Being told that we have to socially distance ourselves, stay at home and perhaps self-isolate could be stressful and may put increased strain and pressure on our relationships.

The NHS Every Mind Matters website has some really simple useful tips and advice to support good mental health – www.nhs.uk/oneyou/everymind-Matters.

Useful advice on health and wellbeing can also be found at www.torbay.gov.uk (click on the coronavirus link).

Looking out for each other

This is a time when we can all connect and reach out across our local community. Some people will need extra help and support during this difficult time, and it’s important we look out for each other. This can come in different ways – dropping off supplies if people are self-isolating, or a friendly phone call to check someone is OK.

Local businesses also need your support. At a time like this, something we can all do is think of others, consider our actions and be kind.