About Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The information on this page is to provide updates to Council colleagues about the Coronavirus. Colleagues without access to the Orb should check this page regularly for updates on the latest advice and what you need to do.
This information was updated on 23 March 2020.
In December 2019, a new strain of the Coronavirus, not previously identified in humans, was identified in China - this has now been named as COVID-19.
This is the most recent information to date and will be updated as and when further guidance is received from Health Protection Scotland and NHS Lothian.
Symptoms of COVID-19
If you’ve developed a new continuous cough and/or a fever/high temperature in the last 7 days, stay at home for 7 days from the start of your symptoms even if you think your symptoms are mild. Do not go to your GP, pharmacy or hospital.
You should only phone 111 if your symptoms:
- have not improved after 7 days
- are severe or you have shortness of breath
- worsen during home isolation.
You should also phone 111 if you develop breathlessness or it worsens, especially if you:
- are 70 years old or over
- have underlying poor health
- have heart or lung problems
- have a weakened immune system, including cancer
- have diabetes
If you have a medical emergency, phone 999 and tell them you have Coronavirus symptoms.
Where Coronaviruses come from
Coronaviruses are viruses that circulate among animals but some of them can affect humans. After they have infected animals, they can then eventually be transmitted to humans. The range of human Coronaviruses include common cold MERS, CoV, and SARS.
How they spread
While animals are the source of the virus, it's now spreading from one person to another (human-to-human transmission). There’s currently not enough information to know how easily the virus spreads between people and how long it will continue to spread in the community.
The virus seems to be transmitted mainly from respiratory droplets that people sneeze, cough, or exhale.
The incubation period for COVID-19 (the time between exposure to the virus and onset of symptoms) is currently estimated at between two and 14 days. At this stage, we know that the virus can be transmitted as soon as those infected show flu-like symptoms. However, there are still uncertainties as to whether mild, or cases which don't yet show, symptoms can transmit the virus.
If people with COVID-19 are tested and diagnosed promptly, and thorough infection control measures are applied, the likelihood of ongoing human-to-human transmission in community settings in the UK is low. Testing, diagnosing, infection prevention and control measures were very effective in controlling previous outbreaks caused by other coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to predict how long the outbreak will last and how the epidemic will evolve overall. We're dealing with a new virus and therefore a lot of uncertainty remains. For instance, it’s unknown whether transmission will decrease during the summer, as happens with flu.
Guidance on Coronavirus can be found on the NHS inform website.