COVID-19 / Wuhan novel coronavirus (WN-CoV) advice

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Keeping yourself safe.

You may have seen on the news about a newly identified respiratory virus called COVID-19, formally known as Wuhan novel coronavirus (WN-CoV) that causes pneumonia. WN-CoV is a new respiratory illness that has not previously been seen in humans.

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can cause a range of symptoms including a runny nose, cough, sore throat and fever. Some are mild, such as the common cold, while others are more likely to lead to pneumonia. They’re usually spread through direct contact with an infected person.

Everything you need to know about the coronavirus

Those who have fallen ill are reported to suffer coughs, fever and breathing difficulties. In severe cases there can be organ failure. As this is viral pneumonia, antibiotics are of no use. 

The key concerns are how transmissible this new coronavirus is between people and what proportion become severely ill and end up in hospital. Often viruses that spread easily tend to have a milder impact. Unfortunately the antiviral drugs we use to fight against the flu will not work on coronavirus.

Symptoms of Wuhan coronavirus

Symptoms of Wuhan coronavirus usually include;

  • Feeling tired
  • Difficulty breathing
  • A high temperature
  • A cough

At what point should you go to the doctor if you have a cough or other flu-like symptoms?

Unless you have recently travelled to China or been in contact with someone infected with the virus, then you should treat any cough or cold symptoms as normal. We advise that there is generally no need to visit a doctor for a cough unless it is persistent or you are having other symptoms such as chest pain, difficulty breathing or you feel very unwell. Booking an appointment to speak with one of our doctors might help put your mind at ease.

There are currently no vaccines available to protect you against human coronavirus infection. But you may be able to reduce your risk of infection by doing the following;

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick

How to protect others

If you have cold-like symptoms, you can help protect others by doing the following;

  • Stay home while you are sick
  • Avoid close contact with others
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces


There are no specific treatments for illnesses caused by human coronaviruses. Most people with common human coronavirus illness will recover on their own. However, you can do some things to relieve your symptoms

  • Take pain and fever medications (Caution: do not give Aspirin to children)
  • Use a room humidifier or take a hot shower to help ease a sore throat and cough

If you are mildly sick, you should;

  • Drink plenty of liquids
  • Stay home and rest

If you are concerned about your symptoms, you should book an appointment to speak to one of our doctors today.

If you use the discount code ‘wncov’ when you book your first appointment with us, you will receive 50% off the normal consultation fee.

Further reading and sources

  1. World Health Organisation. “WHO best practices for naming of new human infectious diseases”. 12 February 2020.
  2. European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. “Novel coronavirus”. 12 February 2020.
  3. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “How 2019-nCoV Spreads”. 5 February 2020.
  4. World Health Organisation. Q&A on coronaviruses. 11 February 2020.
  5. GOV.UK. “Foreign travel advice: China”. 9 February 2020.

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