Here are the top seven things to check if you are worried you might catch the coronavirus.

What is the Coronavirus? 

The corona virus is a member of the coronavirus family that has mutated to form a different disease, now known as Covid-19. Like the other coronaviruses, it has come from animals and evolved to become susceptible to humans. Many of those who became infected initially worked or shopped at a Huanan seafood wholesale market in the centre of Wuhan.

What are the symptoms? 

  • Fever 
  • Cough 
  • Shortness of breath 

In severe cases this disease can cause pneumonia which attacks the immune system and can cause organ failure. However, many of these cases who have died from the disease were already in poor health prior to becoming infected with the disease.

Is it contagious?

China’s national health commission has confirmed the disease can be transmitted through human-to-human contact.

How many people have been affected?

At the time of publication, China has recorded 2,118 deaths from the outbreak of Covid-19 with a further 74,576 cases confirmed in mainland China. Currently more than 12,000 people have recovered from the disease.

The virus has spread to nearly 30 countries worldwide, with 607 cases in Japan alone. However, there has only been nine recorded cases reported to date in the UK despite more than 4,500 people tested for the disease.

Should I go to the doctor if I have these symptoms?

If you believe you have these symptoms, UK Chief Medical Officers are advising people to stay indoors if you are showing signs for the disease are have been involved in one or more of the following situations:

  • You have been to Wuhan or Hubei Province in China in the last 14 days (even if you do not have symptoms)
  • You have been to other parts of China, including Macau and Hong Kong, in the last 14 days and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath (even if it's mild)
  • You have been to Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Republic of Korea or Malaysia in the last 14 days and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath (even if it's mild)
  • You have been in close contact with someone you know has coronavirus

In all these cases, do not go to a GP surgery or hospital. Call NHS 111 and they will advise you. If you're in Northern Ireland, call 0300 200 7885.

How do I protect myself from catching it?

  • Wash your hands frequently – Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub eliminates the virus if it is on your hands.
  • Practice respiratory hygiene – Covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing prevent the spread of germs and viruses. If you sneeze or cough into your hands, you contaminate objects or people that you touch.
  • Maintain social distancing – When someone who is infected with a respiratory disease, coughs and sneezes project small droplets containing the virus can land on or be inhaled by you.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth – Hands touch many surfaces which can be contaminated with the virus. If you touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your contaminated hands, you can transfer the virus from the surface to yourself.

Should I worry?

No. The coronavirus appears to affect those who are older or who already have existing debilitating illnesses. Often viruses that spread easily tend to have a milder impact on the public. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the flu or flu-like illnesses kills as many as 56,000 a year, more than 23 times the amount Covid-19 has killed to date.