Coronavirus (COVID-19) is the illness caused by a strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan city, China. It can cause a new continuous cough, fever or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste (anosmia).
Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people and those with long term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.
This is a rapidly changing situation which is being monitored carefully.
Higher risk of severe illness
Some people are at higher risk of developing severe illness with coronavirus. These people should strictly followprotective measures.
aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
under 70 and instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds
And those with:
chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
chronic kidney disease
chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson's disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
problems with their spleen, for example sickle cell disease
a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
a BMI of 40 or above who are seriously overweight
Extremely high risk of severe illness
Some groups of people are considered to be at extremely high risk of severe illness with coronavirus. These people should strictly followprotective measures and hygiene measures.
Their household and other contacts should strictly followprotective measuresand hygiene measures to protect them.
Extremely high-risk group
This group includes people with:
cancer and are receiving active chemotherapy
lung cancer and are either receiving or previously received radical radiotherapy
cancers of the blood or bone marrow, such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
severe chest conditions such as cystic fibrosis, severe asthma, severe COPD, severe bronchiectasis and pulmonary hypertension
rare diseases, including all forms of interstitial lung disease/sarcoidosis, and inborn errors of metabolism (such as SCID and homozygous sickle cell) that significantly increase the risk of infections
an absent spleen or have had their spleen removed
significant heart disease (congenital or acquired) and are pregnant
Down’s syndrome (adults)
stage 5 kidney disease
liver cirrhosis (Child-Pugh class B and C)
And those that have had:
solid organ transplants
bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
immunosuppression therapies that significantly increase the risk of infection
If a child or adult develops fever following a vaccination, this would normally be within the first 48 hours after the time of vaccination and should usually go away within 48 hours from the start of your symptoms. It is quite common to have a fever after a vaccination.
You should only self-isolate or book a test during this time if you also either:
have other coronavirus symptoms (a new continuous cough or a loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste)
have been told by NHS Test and Protect that you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for coronavirus
live with someone who has recently tested positive for coronavirus
How soon after contact with the virus do people become unwell?
The precise incubation period of coronavirus is not yet known. Experience so far suggests the average time it takes for symptoms to develop is 4 to 6 days after exposure, but it may be as short as 1 day or much longer.
Get an isolation note to give to your employer
You can send an isolation note to your employer as proof you need to stay off work because of coronavirus.