Coronavirus: Anyone with persistent cough or high temperature told to stay at home for seven days
The government is asking all people with symptoms of coronavirus to self-isolate.
Anyone with a cough that is “continuous and new” or a fever is asked to stay at home for seven days.
Previously, self-isolation was advised for those who had been travelled to a list of affected countries, or had contact with someone with the coronavirus.
The new measure was announced following the government’s emergency Cobra meeting.
The number of confirmed cases in the UK is now 596, with 140 new cases announced on Thursday. Ten have died from the virus to date in the UK.
Cambridgeshire has two cases, with one confirmed by Addenbrooke’s Hospital today (Thursday).
But chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance told a press conference that he believed the number infected was more likely to be 5,000-10,000 already.
It was also confirmed that:
- Schools in the UK will remain open, unlike in Ireland, but the government advised against international school trips;
- Sports fixtures are still going ahead at this stage, although this remains under review;
- The government has moved from its containment phase to its delay phase, which is aimed at lowering the peak of the impact, and delaying the peak.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Some people compare it to seasonal flu, alas that is not right. Owing to the lack of immunity, this disease is more dangerous.
“It is going to spread further and I must level with you, I must level with the British public, many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time.”
During the delay phase, the government will consider social distancing measures such as closing sports matches to the public, a move already adopted in Scotland.
Older people were advised that they will have to cut down their social interaction as the virus reaches its peak. It is thought this could be potentially 10-14 weeks away, which would place it towards the end of May.
Elderly people were also advised against going on cruises.
Covid-19 was described as the “worst public health crisis” in a generation and the Prime Minister it would cause disruption for many months.
Washing hands properly with soap for about 20 seconds remains the best method to prevent transmission.
Guidance from Public Health England
The main messages are:
- if you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (Covid-19), however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for seven days from when your symptoms started. This action will help protect others in your community whilst you are infectious
- plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home
- ask your employer, friends and family to help you to get the things you need to stay at home
- stay at least two metres (about three steps) away from other people in your home whenever possible
- sleep alone, if that is possible
- wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water
- stay away from vulnerable individuals such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions as much as possible
- you do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after seven days contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.
More by this authorPaul Brackley