What is Coronavirus (COVID-19) and why is it different to other viruses? | Highfield e-learning

What is Coronavirus (COVID-19) and why is it different to other viruses?


Coronavirus (Covid-19)

COVID-19 is a newly identified illness caused by a virus called coronavirus. It can affect your airways and lungs.

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause mild diseases such as the common cold  or more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). People who are infected can go on to develop problems with breathing and Pneumonia.

Symptoms of Coronavirus

Most patients have mild symptoms with some developing more severe symptoms.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever


  • Cough


  • Tight chest or difficult / laboured breathing

    Tight chest or difficult
    / laboured breathing

How is Coronavirus spread?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection is spread in a similar way to the common cold, i.e. through close contact with someone with coronavirus via coughs and sneezes or through hand contact. A person could be infected by touching contaminated surfaces if they have not washed their hands.

  • Body fluids

    Currently, it is thought that is spread through human to human transmission and early indications suggest that it may be spread through the direct or indirect contact with infected respiratory body fluids.

  • Dog icon

    There is no evidence that humans can be infected with coronavirus by animals but it is always good practice to wash your hands after contact with animals.

How can Coronavirus be prevented?

  • Wash hands

    Wash hands frequently to remove the virus and/or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser to kill them

  • Keep distant

    Keep your distance (2 metres/6 feet) from a person who is coughing or sneezing to reduce the risk of infection

  • Avoid touching your face

    Avoid touching your face, eyes nose and mouth to prevent transfer from contaminated hands

  • Coughing into elbow

    Cough or sneeze into your shoulder or the inside of your elbow to avoid contaminating your hands

  • Using tissue

    If you use a tissue when coughing and sneezing, your hands and the tissue will be contaminated. Dispose of the tissue in a foot-operated bin or a toilet and wash your hands

  • Disinfect hand contact surfaces

    Every surface you touch prior to hand washing could be contaminated. Regularly disinfect hand-contact surfaces

  • Face mask

    Avoid crowded places

  • Contact your manager

    Contact your manager/HR department before going to work if you suspect you are infected or have been in contact with a confirmed case

Click here to view our FREE downloadable resources

View our infection control and FREE COVID-19 short courses!


Watch the videos below to learn the correct methods for effective handwashing and hand sanitisation.

Find out more about effective handwashing


Face maskSome face masks can be effective and will be worn by health workers in hospital and clinical settings. People who are infected may be advised to wear a face mask, however it should be the correct type of mask as advised.

Ill-fitting face masks will be of little value as they will not effectively filter the virus.


If you think you have been in close contact with someone infected with Coronavirus (COVID-19) or have of the symptoms listed call 111 or use the online 111 coronavirus service and follow the advice given.



Further advice and guidelines

For further advice and guidelines visit:







covid19 awareness

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