Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) – Public Information

Posted on 10th February 2020


In late December 2019, the People’s Republic of China reported an outbreak of pneumonia due to unknown cause in Wuhan City, Hubei Province.

In early January 2020, the cause of the outbreak was identified as a new coronavirus, named novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). While early cases were likely infected by an animal source in a seafood and livestock market in Wuhan, ongoing human-to-human transmission is now occurring.

There are a number of coronaviruses that are transmitted from human-to-human. The most common of these are not of public health concern. However, 2019-nCoV can cause respiratory illness of varying severity and though the majority will have mild symptoms it can also cause severe illness. Currently, there is no vaccine and no specific treatment for those infected with the virus.

This information sheet contains links to advice for the public on what the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is, who is at risk, and what you can do to prevent infection.

General Information

If you do not have symptoms and are looking for general information, a free helpline has been set up on 0800 028 2816.

For further information about what coronavirus is, the symptoms, and how the virus spreads, see:

NHS Inform

Health Protection Scotland (HPS) – including guidance for health professionals

World Health organisation (WHO)

Public Health England (PHE) – Novel coronavirus background information

Advice for Returning Travellers

NHS Inform – Q&A, Self-help guide and helpline number

Travel Guidance

If you are looking for travel guidance, see:

Fit for Travel (China)

Fit for travel – Recommendations for Travellers

Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) – Travel Advice

Latest Information and Advice

If you would like to keep up to date on the latest information and advice, including the number of coronavirus tests carried out in Scotland and the UK see:

Scottish Government – Novel coronavirus: Scottish test numbers

Department of Health and Social Care – Coronavirus: latest information and advice

Preventative Measures

If you would like to know more about basic protective measures against the new coronavirus, see:

WHO – Basic Protective Measures

Accessing Healthcare

For more information on accessing healthcare and assistance:

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