BMA have compiled guidance and information sources for doctors on the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

BMA have compiled guidance and information sources for doctors on the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Please check official PHE guidance and nation-specific guidance to ensure you have the most up-to-date information.


This page sets out:


If a patient wants more information about the Coronavirus

Guidance on the situation in the UK, including information about the virus, advice for travellers from Wuhan and the action taken to date, is available from the DHSC and PHE. This advice is being updated on a daily basis.

Coronavirus: latest information and advice


PHE advice for travellers to the UK

PHE advise that travellers who have returned from Wuhan and Hubei Province areas in the last 14 days should:

  • stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as with other infections
  • Call NHS 111 to avoid contact with other people as you would with the flu
  • in Scotland follow advice from Health Protection Scotland
  • in Wales phone 111/NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47
  • in Northern Ireland phone 0300 200 7885.

Patients are asked to follow this advice even if they do not have symptoms of the virus.

Travellers who have returned from other parts of mainland China and other specified countries in the last 14 days are advised to follow this advice if they develop symptoms of cough or fever or shortness of breath, even if the symptoms are minor.


If a patient presents at a practice

PHE states that the main principles are to:

  • identify potential cases as soon as possible
  • prevent potential transmission of infection to other patients and staff
  • avoid direct physical contact, including physical examination, and exposures to respiratory secretions
  • isolate the patient in a room, obtain specialist advice and determine if the patient is at risk of COVID-19
  • inform the local Health Protection Team (HPT), or in Wales, the Public Health Wales Health Protection Team on 0300 00 300 32.


If you suspect COVID-19 during a consultation

Public Health England guidance says if COVID-19 becomes a possible diagnosis once a consultation is already in progress, you should:

  • Withdraw from the room, sensitively explaining to the patient why this is necessary.
  • Leave the patient in the room with the door closed.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  • The patient should not be allowed to use communal toilet facilities, they need to be instructed to not touch anything on the way to the toilet and should thoroughly wash their hands after use.
  • Belongings and waste should remain in the room.
  • If a clinical history still needs to be obtained or completed, do this by telephone.
  • Advise others not to enter the room.
  • If you have air conditioning, turn this off.

Seek further specialist advice, such as from a local microbiologist, virologist or infectious diseases physician as above.

For more information, guidance on environmental cleaning after a possible case and on patient transfers read the full PHE interim guidance for primary care.


Sharing information about preparedness of your practice (England only)

CCGs (on behalf of NHSEI) are asking GP practices in England for information about their preparation for coronavirus.

You do not have to provide this information unless the Secretary of State issues a direction. However, we encourage you to respond so that NHSEI and PHE are aware of preparations across England.

The BMA has written to the Secretary of State offering the support of the profession in tackling the virus.


Discussion on Coronavirus

Hear from BMA council vice chair David Wrigley and BMA emergency preparedness lead GP Peter Holden.


Further information

  • Guidance from the PHE and DHSC is updated regularly and covers a range of topics.
  • WHO publishes information and guidance on the outbreak of COVID-19.
  • Read news stories and see a list of resources from the BMJ.
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