What is COVID-19?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.

Everyone should do what they can to stop coronavirus spreading.

Social distancing will help reduce the transmission of coronavirus by reducing the social interaction between people.

You should:

  • Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus – these symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough;
  • Avoid non-essential use of public transport, varying your travel times to avoid rush hour, when possible
  • Work from home, where possible – your employer should support you to do this.
  • Avoid gatherings with friends and extended family – keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media
  • Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.

 

Preventing the spread of infection

Like seasonal flu, the same public health advice applies for COVID-19 (Coronavirus): if you cough or sneeze, use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose, throw it away carefully after use, and wash your hands.

The best way to prevent the spread of infections, including coronavirus, is good personal hygiene. This means washing your hands regularly using soap and hot water and drying them with paper towels.

COVID-19 is caused by a virus. Antibiotics do not work against viruses; they only work on bacterial infections. Antibiotics should not be used to try to prevent or treat COVID-19 (coronavirus). They will not work and may cause harm.

 

What should I do if I think I have coronavirus or been exposed?

If you are pregnant and you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature);
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual); OR
  • a loss of or change in sense of smell or taste.

You should stay at home for 7 days. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you are staying at home. You do not need a test for coronavirus. At the present time, only people with severe symptoms who require overnight admission to hospital will be tested.

You should contact your maternity unit to inform them that you have symptoms suggestive of coronavirus, particularly if you have any routine appointments in the next 7 days.

If you have concerns about the wellbeing of yourself or your unborn baby during your self-isolation period, contact your maternity team. Your maternity team contact details will be on your maternity notes or you can access your Trust helpline numbers from the homepage. They will provide further advice, including whether you need to attend hospital.

 

Advice on testing

Everyone in Northern Ireland with symptoms of coronavirus is now eligible for testing. For more information click here.

 

If you are pregnant and work in healthcare

Pregnant women of any gestation should be offered the choice of whether to work in direct patient-facing roles during the coronavirus pandemic. Your choices on whether you continue to work in direct patient-facing roles during the coronavirus pandemic should be respected and supported by your employers. To access the full guidance click here.

 

Travel advice

If you’re concerned about the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on your existing travel plans, check with your airline, tour operator, cruise line or other transport and accommodation providers as applicable. People who plan to travel should check the travel advice here.