You’ll be aware that on Tuesday 3 March the UK Government outlined its action plan to deal with a possible major Coronavirus outbreak in the UK.
It can be hard to read between the lines of the media sometimes, and work out what is truth and what has been sensationalised. So, we wanted to provide a summary for our customers, of what is currently known, how you can protect yourself, where to find help and advice, and how Simplyhealth can support you.
What we currently know about Coronavirus
Coronavirus is a respiratory disease. You may remember the SARS outbreak some years ago. This was also a Coronavirus, which is why people have become so concerned.
Most cases of Coronavirus are mild and symptoms seem to start with a fever, followed by a dry cough and shortness of breath. These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness, as they are similar to that of the common cold or flu. In more severe cases, Coronavirus can cause older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) to become severely ill and they are at a greater risk.
At the time of writing this, there were 107,800 cases of Coronovirus worldwide, and 3,661 deaths1. There are now 273 confirmed cases of the virus in the UK2, with the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, warning on 3 March 2020 that it is ‘highly likely’ the UK will see further infection.
How to protect yourself
You’re unlikely to be at risk of contracting Coronavirus unless you’ve had close contact with someone who is infected. Close contact means:
- living in the same house
- contact with their body fluids
- face-to-face contact, for example talking for more than a few minutes
- being coughed on
- being within 2 metres of the person for more than 15 minutes
It’s important that as we go about our day to day activities, we all remember to follow basic hygiene advice to:
- Catch it - cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or sleeve, when you cough or sneeze
- Bin it - throw away tissues immediately after use
- Kill it - wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap
It’s also advisable to avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unclean hands, and avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
Where to find help and advice
If you think you may have been in close contact with someone with confirmed Coronavirus, or you are displaying any symptoms, please stay at home and call NHS 111 for further advice.
The Government has issued clinical guidance to healthcare professionals on what to look for and how to act. If you'd like to know more, further information and advice from the NHS can be found here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/wuhan-novel-coronavirus/
How Simplyhealth can support you
If you have a Simplyhealth Plan we’d like to remind you that you have 24/7 access to GPs and Physiotherapists via video consultations.
Our Telephone Counselling Service also provides you with direct access to Counsellors, giving you the opportunity to talk about any worries or concerns you may have. They can help with a range of topics from financial and legal advice, to relationship and travel information. Simply call 0800 975 3347 any day, any time for free confidential help.
We’re continuing to monitor the situation in the UK and will update our advice and support as things develop.