SELF-ISOLATION is set to become a reality for thousands of British people in the coming weeks, as cases of coronavirus soar, while Covid-19 related deaths spike.
In fact, the government are urging people who have coronavirus symptoms to stay at home for seven days to prevent the spread of the deadly bug.
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And Health Secretary Matt Hancock recently confirmed that anyone over the age of 70 will soon be told to self-isolate for up to four months in a bid to save lives.
It comes as the number of UK coronavirus cases has surged to 1,543 – up 171 people in the last 24 hours – and the death toll stands at 37.
The government says that if you have symptoms of Covid-19, however mild, you should not leave your home for seven days from when your symptoms started.
This action will help protect others in your community while you are infectious.
As the virus is new experts are still working to understand it but the most common symptoms of coronavirus infection usually include:
- A dry cough
- A high temperature
- Shortness of breath
Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea – but these are usually mild and begin gradually.
Developing these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have the illness and they are similar to other illnesses, such as the common cold or flu.
Some people will not develop all of these symptoms – and some might not even show symptoms at all, experts say.
Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK's chief scientific adviser, said: "It looks quite likely that there is some degree of asymptomatic transmission.
"There’s definitely quite a lot of transmission very early in the disease when there are very mild symptoms."
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Around one out of every six who gets Covid-19 become seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing, according to the WHO.
Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are at most risk developing serious illness.
This can include pneumonia and swelling in the lungs, which can make it hard for the lungs to pass oxygen into the bloodstream – leading to organ failure and death.
Severe pneumonia can kill people by causing them to "drown" in the fluid flooding their lungs.
People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention, the WHO says.
The symptoms of coronavirus are similar to other respiratory illnesses such as the flu and the common cold.
However, with the flu, symptoms can come on much quicker than with coronavirus.
Coronavirus is believed to be transmitted between people through droplets spread from coughing and touching or shaking hands.
While sneezing is not a symptom of the new coronavirus, it also thought to be a way that droplets can be spread.
Symptoms are thought to appear between two and 11 days.
New research has found that the average incubation period of Covid-19 is 5.1 days.
A study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US found that almost all (97.5 per cent) of those who develop symptoms appeared to do so within 11.5 days of infection.
Experts say there is little evidence to suggest that people can spread the virus without showing symptoms.
Currently, there is no vaccine to protect people against the virus.
Antibiotics do not help, as they do not work against viruses – only bacteria.
Health bosses say the best way to protect yourself and others is to wash your hands with soap and water for the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice.
Happy Birthday takes about 20 seconds to sing twice and is said to be the perfect number to clean your hands to thoroughly.
If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 per cent alcohol.
Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
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