As the UK COVID-19 cases rise, it’s important to be as well informed as possible about what this means for everyday life.
People all over Britain are panicking and the news headlines aren’t doing much to reassure us. So what should you be doing?
What’s the current situation?
The total number of people diagnosed in the UK is now at 280, with three deaths reported overall.
There has been a steep increase in cases within a small period of time, which seems alarming on first glance.
However, this is not an unexpected development.
The virus is spreading at a rapid pace because it is new, and we do not yet have immunity to it like we do with the common flu. This also means vaccines are not yet available. Lack of familiarity with the virus and its effects tends to promote speculation and theories which can easily turn into scaremongering, rather than looking at the facts.
The UK government may introduce measures to attempt at containing the virus, such as banning large gatherings such as sports events and closing schools, however this has not yet been considered necessary.
What should you be doing?
Washing your hands has always been the most effective way of preventing the spread of infection. That is why this is the most effective thing you can do now. Wash your hands before you eat and after you have been on public transport especially. It is advised that you do this for at least 20 seconds, front and back, as well as your wrists and finger tips. You can find out more about this here.
If you have been to a high risk area such as China or Northern Italy, officials are telling us to self isolate for 14 days. Additionally, If you have been in close contact with someone who has just returned from a high risk area, you might want to seek further medical advice about whether you should self-isolate for a few days.
Other than this authorities are advising people to ‘keep calm and carry on’. The panic buying that is taking place in supermarkets is ill-advised and not needed.
The UK is in a self-containment phase of the government’s four-part plan to manage the virus.
Appearing on Good Morning Britain this morning, Dr Hilary Jones said that there is a worry that the virus will somehow get into residential care homes, where it could cause havoc with more vulnerable people, usually elderly people with underlying health conditions.
Dr Hilary also said that elderly people are advised to stay away from large gatherings and events at the moment.
Should you panic?
It is rarely the case that panic solves a problem.
People are panicking and stock piling ‘essentials’ due to a lot of misinformation spreading through the British media. If the news is making you feel anxious, it’s important to stick to reliable sources such as the NHS and the World Health Organisation websites.
At the moment, the UK government is not moving into the next stage of its four-part plan to manage the virus, meaning that people should go about their normal business.