Avoiding infection

How is COVID-19 spread?

COVID-19 is spread by droplets. It is not airborne.  This is most likely to happen when there is close contact (within 2 metres) with an infected person. It is likely that the risk of infection transmission increases the longer someone has close contact with an infected person. Respiratory secretions, from the coughs and sneezes of an infected person, are most likely to be the main means of infection transmission. There are two routes by which COVID-19 can be spread:

∙ Directly; from close contact with an infected person (within 2 metres) where respiratory       secretions can enter the eyes, mouth, nose or airways. This risk increases the longer someone   has close contact with an infected person who has symptoms.

∙ Indirectly; by touching a surface, object or the hand of an infected person that has been     contaminated with respiratory secretions and then touching own mouth, nose, or eyes.

How long can the virus survive on environmental surfaces?

This depends on a number of factors, e.g. what type of surface it is, metal or fabric etc.  However, it is clear that the virus can remain active in droplets on surfaces for up to 72 hours possibly longer.


  1. Wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds using soap and hot water, particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose, or after being in public areas where other people are doing so. Use hand sanitiser if that’s all you have access to. Soap and hot water are best
  2. To reduce the spread of germs when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or your sleeve (not your hands) if you don’t have a tissue, and throw the tissue in a bin immediately. Then wash your hands with soap and hot water or use a hand sanitising gel. If you used your sleeve, wash your clothes as soon as you can.
  3. Clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces using your regular cleaning products to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people including your phone, door handles & light switches.

Trips to supermarkets and petrol stations

  1. Avoid touching your face while out shopping or filling the car with petrol.
  2. Don’t use stair rails or escalator rails if possible.
  3. Avoid opening doors via a door-knob if possible and use your upper arm.
  4. Don’t hand your credit/bank card to anyone else but undertake the transaction yourself and wash/wipe your hands immediately after entering your pin code.
  5. Maintain a 2m distance from others.
  6. When you come home, wash EVERYTHING with soap and water before putting it away. Clean your steering wheel, gear stick, handbrake, indicators & door- handles on your car using your regular cleaning products.

At home

  1. When you collect your post, wash hands immediately after as paper and cardboard can also harbour the virus for a couple of days.
  2. Keep door-knobs and light switches in the house clean (daily) in addition to surfaces and your phone.
  3. If you buy in any take-away food then ensure you hand wash after handling packaging and before eating.
  4. Avoid close contact with others outside your home; maintain a 2m distance

If you are helping others in Isolation

  1. Place shopping/medicines on the doormat. Do not place it in their hands.
  2. Take your own dog lead to walk someone else’s dog OR disinfect the dog lead you are given with disinfectant wipes. Avoid touching your face. Wash your hands thoroughly as soon as you go home with hot soapy water.
  3. Maintain a 2m distance from others.

The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of a new continuous cough and/or high temperature. If you have these symptoms, however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started. You do NOT need to call NHS 111 in order to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

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