Coronavirus has been declared a ‘pandemic’ by the World Health Organisation (WHO). This means there is a significant and ongoing spread of the virus (disease) in many countries across the world. It is a major public health emergency and the most significant threat the UK has faced for decades.
Why is it such a problem?
- The virus spreads very easily from person to person – on average one person infects between 2 and 3 other people – so, without action, many more people will get infected.
- A large number of people experience few or mild symptoms. This means they may keep doing what they usually do and in the process, spread the virus without realising.
- Although most people experience mild to moderate symptoms, a significant number (around 1 in 5) will need hospital care and some (around 1 in 20) will need critical care. If the virus spreads widely, the NHS will not have enough equipment, doctors or nurses to help everyone who needs it.
- Although most people will experience a mild illness and recover quickly, the fatality rate for coronavirus is much higher than seasonal flu, particularly among people at highest risk.
- As this a viral disease, antibiotics are of no use. The antiviral drugs we have to work against flu will not work either, and there is currently no vaccine.
- Recovery from Coronavirus depends on the strength of the immune system.
Staying alert and safe
Everyone should continue to stay alert and limit your contact with others. Staying at home is the easiest way to do this.
However, from Monday 1st June, you can spend time outdoors and meet in groups of up to six. You should stay alert and always practise social distancing with people from outside of your household keeping 2 metres apart.
You must not:
- gather in groups of more than six people you do not live with
- visit friends or family inside their home or any other indoor place
- stay away from your own home overnight, except for in a limited set of circumstances, such as for work purposes
Find out more about why staying at home can help stop coronavirus spreading