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What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain of coronavirus that affects your lungs and airways.


What you need to do

Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

You should only leave the house for one of four reasons:

  • Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible

  • One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household

  • Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person

  • Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home


The activities listed above are exceptions – even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household.

It is important that you eat well and stay active during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Try to maintain a healthy diet by trying new recipes (internal link to centrala cookbook) and make exercise fun by getting all the family involved. The extra time at home is also an opportunity to learn new skills.


Mental wellbeing while staying at home

Taking care of your mind as well as your body is really important if you need to stay at home or you are shielding because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

You may feel bored, frustrated or lonely. You may also be low, worried or anxious, or concerned about your finances, your health or those close to you.

It's important to remember that it's OK to feel this way and that everyone reacts differently. Remember, for most of us, these feelings will pass. Staying at home may be difficult, but you're helping to protect yourself and others by doing it.

The tips and advice here are things you can do now to help you keep on top of your mental wellbeing and cope with how you may feel if you're staying at home. Make sure you get further support if you feel you need it.


Symptoms and self isolation

Test and trace information 


Read official travel advice during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Get a test to check if you have coronavirus


Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

  • You feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home

  • You feel breathless and it's getting worse

  • Your symptoms get worse and you're not sure what to do

Only call 111 if you cannot get help online


  • Feeling breathless can be a sign of a more serious coronavirus infection.

  • If you feel breathless and it's getting worse, get medical advice from the NHS 111 online coronavirus service.


What to do if your child seems very unwell

Children and babies will still get illnesses that can make them very unwell quickly. It's important to get medical help if you need it.


Urgent advice: Call 111 or your GP surgery if your child:

  • Is under 3 months old and has a temperature of 38C or higher, or you think they have a fever

  • Is 3 to 6 months old and has a temperature of 39C or higher, or you think they have a fever

  • Has other signs of illness, such as a rash, as well as a high temperature (fever)

  • Has a high temperature that's lasted for 5 days or more

  • Does not want to eat, or is not their usual self and you're worried

  • Has a high temperature that does not come down with paracetamol

  • Is dehydrated – for example, nappies are not very wet, sunken eyes, and no tears when they're crying


Immediate action required: Call 999 if your child:

  • Has a stiff neck

  • Has a rash that does not fade when you press a glass against it (use the "glass test" from Meningitis Now)

  • Is bothered by light

  • Has a seizure or fit for the first time (they cannot stop shaking)

  • Has unusually cold hands and feet

  • Has pale, blotchy, blue or grey skin

  • Has a weak, high-pitched cry that's not like their usual cry

  • Is drowsy and hard to wake

  • Is extremely agitated (does not stop crying) or is confused

  • Finds it hard to breathe and sucks their stomach in under their ribs

  • Has a soft spot on their head that curves outwards

  • Is not responding like they usually do, or not interested in feeding or usual activities


We produced a number of beautifully illustrated infographics about Covid, developed for our 'Life under Covid' campaign together with Healthy Brum.The infographics are available in Polish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Lithuanian, Czech and Sloavak.

Click here to download.