Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that may cause respiratory illnesses in humans ranging from common colds to more severe conditions such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

'Novel coronavirus' is a new, previously unidentified strain of coronavirus. At the end of 2019, a novel coronavirus was identified as the cause of a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, a city in the Hubei Province of China.The novel coronavirus involved in the current outbreak has been named SARS-CoV-2 by the World Health Organization (WHO).The disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (or “COVID-19”).

COVID-19 can spread from person to person usually through close contact with an infected person or through respiratory droplets that are dispersed into the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It may also be possible to get the virus by touching a surface or object contaminated with the virus and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes, but it is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.It rapidly spread, resulting in an epidemic throughout China, followed by an increasing number of cases in other countries throughout the world.Understanding of COVID-19 is evolving. Interim guidance has been issued by the World Health Organization and by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves