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Coronavirus: Updates and information

Find out about available support, how to offer help, and how to look after your wellbeing. Our customer service centre is open to help you by email and phone. Please continue to follow official NHS and government advice.

Coronavirus: Glossary of terms

Below are explanations of some terms you may be frequently hearing around the current coronavirus outbreak.

Coronavirus is the group name for a number of different viruses including the current strain, Covid-19.

Covid-19 is the name for the disease caused by the new strain of coronavirus.

Incubation is the time it can take for symptoms to appear after a person is infected.

A pandemic is a disease that has spread to different countries and continents, usually affecting a large number of people.

Self-isolation is what people must do if they show any of the symptoms of coronavirus. This includes staying indoors as much as possible, and avoiding contact with other people, including people in their home who have not shown any symptoms.

Shielding is a way to protect people who are extremely vulnerable from coming into contact with coronavirus by minimising all interaction between them and other people.

Social distancing is the steps being taken to limit the spread of the new coronavirus. They include staying two metres away from other people in public, closing schools, pubs, restaurants and other businesses, and working at home where possible.

Underlying conditions are any long term illness or health problem that people may have, such as asthma, diabetes, heart conditions or cancer.