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The coronavirus outbreak has been featuring in the headlines for the past few weeks. The virus which originated in the Wuhan Province of China has been declared a public health emergency of global concern by the WHO. Although the UK Department of Health has described the virus as a ‘serious and imminent’ threat, the risk to the public still remains moderate, and the risk to the individual is low.

However, as with the outbreak of any infectious diseases, parents are likely to be worried about the precautions you’d be taking at your centre to reduce the risk of incidence.

Here’s a look at some useful information sources you can share with parents as well as the precautionary measures you can adopt to reduce the possibility of exposure.

What is Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that causes a range of illnesses from the common cold to severe respiratory disorders. The novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) is the new strain identified in Wuhan City, China. The typical symptoms of Coronavirus include fever and a cough that may progress to severe pneumonia, causing shortness of breath.

How does Coronavirus spread?

As the novel Coronavirus is a new strain, no conclusive information has been officially released about its method of spread. However, experts say, as with the previous outbreaks of other respiratory infections and colds, the virus is most likely to spread through droplets from coughs and sneezes, contact with others and touching infected objects.

What can you do at your setting?

  1. Advise children, parents and staff who have travelled back from Wuhan or Hubei Province or other specified countries, to not return to your setting until 14 days of them returning have passed and they have no symptoms.
  1. If any child, parent, staff or visitor has travelled back from the affected regions in the last 14 days with symptoms, advise them to not return to your setting until they get appropriate medical clearance.
  1. Ask any family or staff members who have plans to travel to or from an affected area to inform the management as soon as possible.
  1. Follow regular health and hygiene practices such as:
    • Washing hands with soap and water
    • Covering mouth when coughing and sneezing and disposing of tissues in the bin straightaway
    • Disinfecting toys and frequently touched surfaces
    • Discouraging the touching of eyes, mouth and nose with unwashed hands
  1. Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  1. Reassure and inform parents about the hygiene practices you follow at the centre and request them to support their children to do the same at home.

Official sources for the latest Coronavirus updates

For regularly updated information on Coronavirus, you can further guide parents to visit the following public health websites:

Public Health England

Health Protection Scotland

Public Health Wales

Public Health Agency, Northern Ireland

HSE, Ireland


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