Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

If you have health-related concerns about novel coronavirus (COVID-19), contact your GP or free phone the dedicated Healthline number: 0800 358 5453. This 24/7 line is staffed by nurses, paramedics and health advisors. Interpreters are available. Information and advice is also available from the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 websites: and Ring ahead before visiting a medical clinic or emergency department – don’t just turn up.

People who have been face-to-face with someone who has COVID-19 are most at risk and need to call 0800 358 5453 if they have one or more of the following symptoms: fever, new or worsening cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing, loss of smell, or the signs of a head cold (runny nose, sneezing, post-nasal drip).

The virus can cause acute respiratory infection ranging from mild to severe. Most of the infected people have had mild to moderate illness.


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Symptoms of 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) are similar to a range of other respiratory illnesses such as influenza and do not necessarily mean that you have novel coronavirus (COVID-19).  Difficulty breathing is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.

Symptoms include:

  • New or worsening cough
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Signs of a head cold (runny nose, sneezing, post-nasal drip)
  • Fever

It’s important to keep up basic hygiene measures, even under Alert Level 1. That means washing and drying your hands frequently and thoroughly, and coughing or sneezing into your elbow.

Keep a note of where you have been to help with contract tracing if needed - you can download the Ministry of Health COVID tracer app to help you with this.

If you are unwell with one or more of the symptoms of COVID-19, stay home and call your doctor - or Healthline on 0800 358 5453 - for advice. Healthline is a free, 24/7 service with interpreters available. The symptoms are: fever, cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing, loss of smell or runny nose. If you are having difficulty breathing, call 111 for an ambulance.

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