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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates
Your information hub about Coronavirus
In these unsettling times, we appreciate you may have some questions regarding COVID-19 and your health insurance policy. Your health and wellbeing is our top priority and we want to reassure you that we’re doing everything we can to support you. You might be able to find the answers you’re looking for in our Coronavirus FAQs.
We’ve produced this useful guide to give you up to date information about coronavirus as well as the latest government advice.
What is the coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that cause illnesses such as the common cold, to more severe conditions such as pneumonia, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) that has caused the outbreak in China is new, and not previously known.
When did it begin?
On 31st December 2019, the World Health Organisation received reports of pneumonia of an unknown cause in Wuhan City in China. Authorities in China quickly identified the cause as a new (or novel) strain of coronavirus in early January.
On 11th March 2020, the World Health Organisation confirmed coronavirus as a pandemic and there are now more than 4,103,241 confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide.
What causes coronavirus?
These types of virus cause illnesses in animals and humans. COVID-19 can be spread person-to-person but the original source of the virus has not been confirmed.
What are the symptoms?
The main symptoms of this coronavirus include:
- Respiratory symptoms (like those you have with a cold)
- Fever (high temperature)
- New, contagious cough
- Loss/change in your normal sense of smell or taste
In more severe cases the virus can cause pneumonia, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) – a severe form of pneumonia, kidney failure and death.
Who is affected?
The coronavirus COVID-19 is affecting 215 countries and territories around the world. The top ten countries affected by COVID-19 are:
On 23rd March, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a three-week period of lockdown measures advising UK residents to ‘stay at home’.
On the 10th May, Boris Johnson addressed the nation announcing that the strict social distancing measures have helped to bring the daily death toll down. In the broadcast, he delivered a "conditional plan" to reopen society and begin lifting England's coronavirus lockdown. See what you can and can’t do on the government website.
Covid Alert System
The new Covid Alert System will rank the threat from the virus ranging from green (level one) to red (level five) and will be adjusted according to medical and scientific data.
Level one means the disease is no longer present in the UK and level five is the most critical – the kind of situation we could have had if the NHS had been overwhelmed.
Boris Johnson announced that over the period of the lockdown we have been in level four, and we are now in a position to begin to move in steps to level three.
The current measures to protect everyone are to:
Stay alert, control the virus, save lives
- Stay at home as much as possible
- Work from home if you can
- Limit contact with other people
- Keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
- Wash your hands regularly
- Self-isolate if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.
Remember, you can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.
Supporting our customers
24-Hour GP Advice Line
Our 24-Hour GP Advice Line is available across our Lifestyle and Elite policies. This helpline operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you have any health concerns or can’t see your own GP at the moment, you’ll be able to speak directly to one of our GPs or specialist doctor from the comfort of your own home. Our doctors, where applicable, can also send prescriptions* to your local pharmacy and provide sick notes for when you are not well enough to work.
24/7 Health & Wellbeing Services
We are pleased to include 24/7 Health and Wellbeing Support within all of our Private Health Insurance policies, offering additional reassurance to you and your family. You’ll be able to access a number of complimentary services including telephone counselling, self-help programmes and medical information.
Where can I get updated information about Novel Coronavirus?
The World Health Organisation is providing regular updates about Novel Coronavirus.
National and regional health authorities are also publishing local guidance on their websites, including Public Health England.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises British nationals against all but essential international travel.
- Any country or area may restrict travel without notice.
- If you live in the UK and are currently travelling abroad, you are strongly advised to return now, where and while there are still commercial routes available.
- Many airlines are suspending flights and many airports are closing, preventing flights from leaving.
If you’re worried about existing travel plans abroad, check with your airline or travel provider.
Visit Foreign Travel Advice to find out more.
If you need to contact a GP, do not go into the surgery in person.
- Visit the GP surgery's website, or use an online service to contact your GP – find your GP surgery to get its website details
- Call your GP surgery
Your GP surgery will then give you advice about what to do. You'll only be asked to visit the surgery if absolutely necessary.
If you're advised to go to hospital, it's important to go. Keep going to any appointments you usually have, unless you're told not to.
- If you need urgent medical help, use the regular NHS 111 online service.
- For life-threatening emergencies, call 999 for an ambulance.
- Try to avoid going straight to A&E instead of calling an ambulance.
If you have symptoms of coronavirus (high temperature or a new, continuous cough), use the 111 coronavirus service.
*Charges may apply.