COVID-19 Advice and Guidance

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more respiratory illness such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).  Coronaviruses circulate in both human and animal populations and new variants can emerge when a coronavirus circulating in animals infects humans. COVID-19 is an example of a new variant of coronavirus that was first detected in human populations in Wuhan, China at the end of December 2019. Many countries around the world have seen cases of COVID-19 and several have been affected by outbreaks. Intensive containment strategies based on surveillance and control measures have been successful in slowing or stopping outbreaks in some countries, although there are some countries which now have evidence of established community transmission and where control of outbreaks is less likely to be achieved (WHO press statement 2nd March 2020).

The precise routes of transmission of COVID-19 are not yet clear.  However, coronaviruses are mainly transmitted by large respiratory droplets and direct or indirect contact with infected secretions. Other coronaviruses have been found in faeces and blood (PHE website).  Evidence from COVID-19 outbreaks suggests that most transmission occurs within family groups and other close contacts (WHO press statement 2nd March 2020).

At least 80% of cases will have mild disease and not require medical intervention, approximately 15% will have severe disease and 5% will require some form of critical care support.  The mortality rate is currently estimated at approximately 1%.  However, since many cases of COVID-19 are mild or asymptomatic they are undetected and in the absence of serological tests there is a lack of certainly of the exact number of cases and hence attack rate (WHO press statement 2nd March 2020).

Key sources of advice and guidance

Public Health England Campaign Resources
A range of public information information and posters for acute and community settings that can be easily downloaded by registering on the website.

Public Health England Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance 
All current coronavirus guidance produced by HM Government.  Includes guidance for healthcare professionals for a full range of acute and non-acute clinical settings and guidance for non-clinical settings such as schools, businesses and social care.

NHS England
Comprehensive list of briefing notes, standing operating procedures and links to wide range of guidance documents.

NHS website
Simple guidance on signs and symptoms, travel advice and infection control.

Health Protection Scotland 
Non-healthcare settings:

NHS Inform 

Public Health Wales 

Public Health Agency


IPS Training Package
Click here - updated 24.03.2020
This set of 27 PowerPoint slides covers the basics of COVID-19 infection prevention & control and you are welcome to adapt them to support training of healthcare workers in your own workplace. They have been developed by IPS Board members and are based on the latest PHE guidance.  We will endeavour to keep them updated as this changes.

What is the evidence for airborne transmission of COVID-19?
IPS Vice President Professor Jennie Wilson has put together a summary of the evidence on survival of COVID19 in air and on surfaces and the evidence for risks of transmission from AGP from acute respiratory viruses.  The evidence still suggests that surgical facemasks are adequate for routine care.

Guidance on managing suspected cases of COVID19

NHS Dumfries & Galloway
Good hygiene advice to deal with bugs

Elsevier have made COVID-19 related articles freely available. 

Accepted Manuscript for Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology 
This is an Accepted Manuscript for Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology as part of the Cambridge Coronavirus Collection - 
Click Here

For schools:
Slides which can be downloaded, edited and added to to suit schools branding. Based on advice from 111 and government/NHS sources.