Coronavirus death toll has risen to 55 in the UK, and the total number of people in the UK to test positive for the virus has risen by 171 in a day to a total of 1,543. With the spectre of an Italian-style escalation fast-approaching, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a volley of measures yesterday to stem the spread of the pathogen and protect at-risk groups. The key takeaway message from the PM’s press conference is that the general public should avoid “non-essential” travel, an approach that will have large-scale implications across the country.
In the wake of the rising death toll and government crackdown, many people will naturally become hyper aware of developing coronavirus symptoms.
It is therefore important to recognise the potential warning signs and implement the recommended measures to protect yourself and those around you.
According to public health bodies, the main mild symptoms to watch out for are:
- A high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
- A new, continuous cough – this means you’ve started coughing repeatedly
However, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), some patients have also reported experiencing diarrhoea.
The public health body places particular emphasis on isolating yourself from those most at-risk of developing severe symptoms and complications as a result of catching the coronavirus.
Those most at-risk include:
- Aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
- Under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (ie anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds):
- 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 your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
- A weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
- Being seriously overweight (a BMI of 40 or above)
- those who are pregnant
Why is social distancing so important?
From what is understood about the coronavirus so far, it is a highly infectious respiratory infection that is spread in cough droplets.
This means it is likely to spread fast in crowded places, where people are more prone to catching it from sneezes and coughs.
The government’s current stance is to scale back all but essential contact to slow down the rate of transmission.
The measure is designed to ease pressure off the NHS, which is already becoming overwhelmed, while buying precious time to develop a vaccine and other effective countermeasures.
In addition to social distancing, maintaining good hygiene practices is also imperative to stopping the spread of the virus.
The key measure is to wash with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds.
According to the NHS, other key tips include:
- Always wash your hands when you get home or into work
- Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
- Avoid close contact with people who have symptoms of coronavirus
- Only travel on public transport if you need to
- Work from home, if you can
- Avoid social activities, such as going to pubs, restaurants, theatres and cinemas
- Avoid events with large groups of people
- Use phone, online services, or apps to contact your GP surgery or other NHS services
Coronavirus – UK latest
As of 9am on 16 March 2020, 44,105 people have been tested in the UK, of which 42,562 were confirmed negative and 1,543 were confirmed as positive.
55 people have so far died.
The Chief Medical Officer puts the current risk level in the UK as high.
Published at Wed, 18 Mar 2020 08:20:00 +0000