COVID-19 is the name of the new coronavirus outbreak.
The best advice for the public to reduce their risk is to:
- always carry tissues and use them to catch a cough or sneeze; then bin the tissue, and wash hands or use a sanitiser gel
- wash hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport; use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- avoid close contact with people who are unwell
I have recently returned to the UK from another country
You can find the latest travel advice and advice on when to self-isolate if you’ve travelled here.
I feel unwell and I am worried that I may have COVID-19
Stay at home for 7 days if you have either:
- a high temperature
- a new continuous cough
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home.
Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:
- you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
- your condition gets worse
- your symptoms do not get better after 7 days
Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.
You can go to the NHS website for more information, including advice on staying at home, and the NHS 111 online coronavirus service.
Do I need to wear a facemask?
Face masks play an important role in clinical settings when in direct contact with someone who may have COVID-19. There’s very little evidence of their benefit to the general, healthy public outside. The best way to protect yourself is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water (or use a sanitiser gel), as well as always carrying tissues and using them to catch coughs and sneezes, then putting the tissue in a bin.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus that first emerged in Wuhan City, China, in December 2019. Coronaviruses are common and have been known to cause infection to humans before.
Typical symptoms of coronavirus infection are fever and a cough that may progress to pneumonia (shortness of breath and difficulty breathing). Generally, symptoms are more severe in older people and people with pre-existing conditions.
To date, most cases of COVID-19 appear to be mild.
What is Southwark Council doing?
On 6 February, a Coronavirus Pandemic Committee (CPC) was convened by Professor Kevin Fenton, Director of Public Health. The CPC brings together a range of senior partners across the Council and CCG to coordinate the local response to this outbreak, and to ensure we are well prepared as a community and that the council can continue to deliver its services.
The CPC has in place a COVID-19 plan, which is based off of well-practiced responses to other large outbreaks, such as pandemic flu.
Key principles of the plan:
- Precaution as we do not yet know how severe this outbreak may be
- Proportionality as we should response no more or no less than is necessary in relation to the risks we are aware of
- Flexibility as, while there should be a consistent, UK-wide approach, we need local flexibility and agility in the escalation of our response
Through the CPC we’re doing a number of things including communicating regularly and coordinating with other London boroughs so that there is a joined up response across the city. We’re working with our local NHS and with departments in Southwark Council to make sure that we support all of our residents and services.