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Coronavirus public information campaign launched

A UK-wide public information campaign has been launched to advise the public on how to slow the spread of coronavirus and reduce the impact on NHS services.

The government-funded campaign will include public health advice on how people can protect themselves from infection.

Similar to the ‘Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’ campaign used for flu and norovirus, it will promote important hygiene practices, such as regularly washing hands and always sneezing into a tissue, to stem the spread of viruses.

HM Government and NHS-branded information will appear in radio and print media, as well as social media.

The campaign will advise the public to:

  • always carry tissues and use them to catch coughs and sneezes, and bin the tissue
  • wash hands with soap and water, or use sanitiser gel, to kill germs

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Our highly trained and experienced clinicians are working round the clock to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the UK. The government has detailed plans for how to deal with an outbreak like this. We can all play our part.

“Basic hygiene such as washing our hands regularly and using tissues when we cough and sneeze can play an important role in minimising the spread of viruses like this. Today we have launched a UK-wide public information campaign to help the public protect themselves and each other.

“Our world-class NHS is well prepared and we are doing everything we can to protect the public.”

People who have travelled back from the Hubei province in China within the last 14 days are being asked to:

  • stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with the flu
  • call NHS 111 to inform them of your recent travel to the city
  • if you are in Northern Ireland, call your GP

Anyone who has travelled from anywhere else in China (not including Macao or Hong Kong) to the UK in the last 14 days and develops symptoms of cough, fever or shortness of breath should immediately self-isolate, even if symptoms are minor, and call NHS 111.

The UK is extremely well prepared for any potential outbreak of an infectious disease – we are one of the first countries in the world to have developed a test for the new virus.

On Friday 31 January 2020, 2 patients in England, who are members of the same family, tested positive for coronavirus. They are receiving specialist NHS care and we are using tried and tested infection control procedures to prevent further spread of the virus.

The government is already working rapidly to identify any contacts the patients had to prevent further spread, and are in close contact with the World Health Organization and the international community as the outbreak in China develops to ensure the UK is ready for all eventualities.

Coronavirus presents with flu-like symptoms including a fever, a cough or difficulty breathing. The current evidence is that most cases appear to be mild. For further information on coronavirus, visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

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