Coronavirus

Information about COVID-19

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If you want access to all Government advice on coronavirus you'll find it here .

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a ‘type’ of virus. The coronavirus we are all affected by is called COVID-19, but you may also hear it called - coronavirus.

How serious is COVID-19?

The vast majority of people who get this virus have relatively mild symptoms and make a full recovery, but in a small percentage of cases, the virus can cause more severe symptoms and death. This is particularly true for people with a weakened immune system, for older people and for those with long term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.

Your self-isolation and social-distancing will reduce the number of lives lost.

A lot of false information about this virus is being shared - it’s very important that you make sure that the information you use comes from a trusted source - all of the information on this page has been sourced from the NHS.

What are the symptoms?

If you are infected you may have very minor symptoms, minor symptoms or more severe symptoms, but the NHS cites two symptoms to look out for as:

  • A new continuous cough
  • A fever or high temperature

What should I do if I have either of the above symptoms?

  • Protect others - don't call NHS 111
  • Protect others - don't call, or go to your GP
  • Protect others - don't go to your local hospital

If you live alone - isolate yourself at home immediately for 7 days

If you live with others - you should all isolate yourselves at home for 14 days - this 14-day period starts from the day the first person in the home noticed the symptoms.

Staying at home for 7 or 14 days will significantly reduce the number of people in the community that will become infected with the virus and the number who go on to die.

For anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period.

If at-risk people share your home - such as those who are older and those with underlying health conditions - it is advisable for them to move out, perhaps to stay with friends or family for the whole isolation period. They need to minimise contact with others during this period whether or not they are able to move out.

For further information read this government advice on staying at home and isolating.

What should I do if self-isolation is difficult?

  • You can't manage with your symptoms at home
  • Your conditions get worse
  • Your symptoms do not get better after 7 days

You should use the online 111 service or if you can't use the online service call 111

How can you avoid getting and spreading the virus?

Scientists think the virus spreads via droplets from coughs and sneezes and we know it spreads easily and can stay on surfaces for a while. It's possible that a lot of us will get it and be affected by it, but if you follow the advice below you will reduce your risk and the risk to others.

  • Avoid non-essential contact with others - work from home if you can and avoid socialising with others.
  • Wash your hands - with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds. Do this before leaving home and after returning home, before eating and drinking, and after coughing or sneezing
  • Cover your mouth and nose - with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze - tissue in the bin and wash, or disinfect, your hands immediately
  • Don't touch your face - especially your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Clean surfaces - disinfect surfaces around you  - especially mobiles, computers, keyboards, worktops, desks, handles...

Self-isolation

  • Stay at home for 7 (individual) or 14 (group) days - this means not going out at all - do this even if you think your symptoms are mild
  • Ask for help - if you find it hard to stay at home - text, email, phone, friends, family, employers or your community to get help - but they mustn't come into your home
  • Keep your distance - keep 2 metres (around 3 steps) away from others - including family - for the full period - do not go to your GP surgery or hospital
  • Sleep alone - if you can sleep alone you must - it will help ensure people you live with aren't infected
  • Keep washing your hands - often and for 20 seconds with soap and water helps
  • Drink plenty of fluids - and take everyday pain killers like paracetamol if you need to
  • Keep cleaning - so you keep surfaces clean
  • Reduce contact with at risk people - people over 70, women who are pregnant and those with underlying health conditions are more at risk - help keep them safe.

Keep up-to-date with government emails about coronavirus (COVID-19) here .

Support for Businesses and Employees

Support to pay employees wages

  • For the first time in British history, the government is stepping in to pay people's wages. Government grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers, up to a total of £2,500 a month - above median earnings. 
  • The scheme is open to any employer in the country, and will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1st. There is no limit on the funding for the scheme, and the government will pay to support as many jobs as needed. 
  • The scheme will open before the end of April, for at least 3 months. 

VAT and taxes

  • The next quarter VAT payments will be deferred, and no business will pay VAT between now and mid-June. Businesses will have until the end of the next Financial Year to repay those bills. 
  • All businesses and the self-employed in financial distress with outstanding tax liabilities may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through the HMRC's Time To Pay service. We all have to play our part in tackling this virus and slowing the spread. As with any new illness, information about the virus spreads is still emerging, but symptoms of Coronavirus include a cough, high temperature and shortness of breath.

Government guaranteed loans

  • The government is making available an initial £330 billion of guarantees - equivalent to 15% of our GDP. That means that businesses who need access to cash top pay their rent, salaries, suppliers or purchase stock will be able to access a government-backed loan, on attractive terms. If demand is greater than the initial £330bn, the Chancellor will go further and provide as much capacity as required. 
  • These loans will be available through two main schemes, which will be up and running by the start of next week: 
    • For larger firms, to support liquidity, a new lending facility will be created to provide low cost, easily accessible commercial paper. 
    • To support lending to Small and Medium Sized businesses, the new Business Interruption Loan Scheme will be extended, providing loans of up to £5 million, with no interest due for the first twelve months. 

In the coming days, a potential support package for airlines and airports will be discussed. 

Insurance, business rate relief and cash grants

  • For pubs, clubs, theatres and other hospitality, leisure and retail venues which have a policy that covers pandemics, the government's closure action is sufficient and will allow businesses to make an insurance claim against their policy. 
  • For businesses which don't have insurance, those with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will receive an additional cash grant of up to £25,000 per business to bridge through this period. 
  • All businesses in these sectors, in addition to private nurseries, will pay no business rates this year regardless of their rateable value.
  • The government will provide an additional £2.2 billion funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no Business Rates, because of Small Business Rate Relief. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to around 700,000 businesses who currently receive Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief, to help meet their business costs. Local authorities will be fully compensated for these measures. 

Statutory Sick Pay

  • The government will legislate to allow small and medium-sized businesses (SME's) to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to Coronavirus for up to two weeks.

First space mission for Dstl

Dstl will conduct the the first tasking of a commercial satellite by a UK Government-owned and operated ground station for nearly 20 year

COVID-19 Honours

Queen’s Birthday Honours list recognises doctors, nurses, fundraisers and volunteers who have made outstanding contributions to the UK’s