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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Sources of Information and Support


Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC)

Department for Education (DfE)

Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO)

Health & Safety Executive (HSE)

National Health Service (NHS)

Public Health England (PHE)

World Health Organization (WHO)

Current guidance on seeking medical advice (

People returning from ‘Category 1’ countries/areas

People returning from any of the below countries/areas should self-isolate for a period of 14 days even if they do not have symptoms.

  • Italy
  1. Those who returned from those areas of Northern Italy previously classified as ‘Category 1’ between 19 February and 8 March 2020 should self-isolate for 14 days. If they develop symptoms they should contact NHS 111.
  2. Those who returned from the remainder of Italy before 9 March 2020 do not need to undertake any special measures, but if they develop symptoms they should self-isolate and call NHS 111.
  • Wuhan city & Hubei Province, China
  • Iran
  • Daegu or Cheongodo (Republic of Korea)


Details are on the website below:


People returning from ‘Category 2’ countries/areas

If in the last 14 days you have been to:

  • Other parts of mainland China
  • Cambodia
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Laos
  • Macau
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar
  • Republic of Korea
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam


Anyone with symptoms returning from the above countries should self-isolate and dial 111 for advice.

Anyone who has been anywhere in the world including the UK and Europe and been in close contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus should self-isolate for 14 days and dial 111 for advice.

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.  Call 111, stay indoors and avoid close contact with other people.  Tell 111 about any recent travel and any symptoms you have.


For guidance about self-isolation



Seeking medical advice

Current guidance on seeking medical advice (

Call Public Health England on 0344 225 0562 for information or advice about controlling infectious diseases in a work environment like a nursery, school, or college only if the current published guidance does not adequately address your specific concerns.

Call the NHS on 111 when in the UK and you need medical help fast but it's not a 999 emergency e.g. if:

  • you need medical help fast but it's not a 999 emergency
  • you think you need to go to A&E or need another NHS urgent care service
  • you don't know who to call or you don't have a GP to call
  • you need health information or reassurance about what to do next.

For less urgent health needs, contact your GP or local pharmacist in the usual way.  111 seems to be quite overwhelmed with enquiries and it is an urgent care helpline which needs to be kept available for people in need of urgent care, so the GP or pharmacist is likely to be people’s best source of information if the published guidance does not adequately address their specific concerns.

Current advice on the spread and treatment coronavirus

There is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus.  Because it's a new illness, we don’t know exactly how coronavirus spreads from person to person.  Similar viruses are spread in cough droplets.  It's very unlikely it can be spread through things like packages or food.  Viruses like coronavirus cannot live outside the body for very long.

There are things you can do to help stop viruses like coronavirus spreading.


  • Wash your hands often using soap and water. Alcohol-based hand sanitiser gel (containing at least 60% alcohol) can be used if soap and water are not available, but is not a substitute for hand washing
  • When sneezing or coughing ‘Catch it, bin it, kill it!’
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands)
  • immediately throw used tissues in the bin
  • wash your hands
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell


  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Antibiotics do not help, as they do not work against viruses.  Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the illness.  You'll need to stay in isolation away from other people until you've recovered.

Education based queries

To support educational settings with their queries the DfE has opened a new helpline. The helpline is available to staff, parents and young people to contact 8am – 6pm Monday to Friday. If you have any education related queries such as school closures or management issues call 0800 046 8687 or email



Sources of information and support

Given the fast-moving nature of the global response to the current outbreak of novel coronavirus also known as COVID-19, it is unlikely to be sensible to try to download any of this information which could be updated at any time.  Providing people with links to reliable sources of information online will be more useful in the longer term.

NHS England, ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19)’

FAQs -

DHSC/PHE, ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): latest information and advice’

DfE/PHE, ‘Guidance to educational settings about COVID-19’

FCO, ‘Travel advice: coronavirus (COVID-19)’


FCO, ‘Foreign travel advice’, (updated frequently).  Choose the country to be travelled to.  Don’t forget to look at the countries being travelled through in order to get to the destination country where relevant e.g. road travel, indirect and layover flights.

PHE, ‘Advice for home isolation’

HSE, ‘A review of the data on efficacy of hand cleaning products in industrial use as alternatives to handwashing’, (2014) - whether hand gels are any use outside of already clean working environments like hospitals – in summary: in 2014 there were no gels that outperformed washing hands with soap and warm water in an environment that was not an already clean or sterile medical facility.

NHS England, ‘How to wash your hands’,– includes a video and a picture story and reminds citizens they should be washing their hands after they have sneezed, coughed or blown their nose as well as around toileting, pet, wound, or food handling

The global hub for developments around the Coronavirus Disease outbreak is the World Health Organization.  This is the webpage from which you can get more technical data including the weekly global Situation Reports or SitReps which track spread and work done to date.

WHO SitRep 35 puts stigmatization and the harmful stereotyping of peoples into focus as a major threat to controlling the spread of the disease globally and includes some tips on tackling this increasingly dangerous rhetoric

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