Handwashing guidance for Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We’ve published handwashing guidance on Coronavirus (COVID-19), along with a free, downloadable poster for your workplace, office or staffroom.

You’ll find tips on prevention, what to watch out for, as well as short videos on handwashing and hand sanitising.

Free A4 poster for your workplace

We’ve created a FREE A4 poster for workplaces, offices, staff rooms and canteens that explains how to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. 

Coronavirus handwashing poster

Get your poster

What is 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.

You should look out for: 

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.

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.

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?

Handwashing and hand sanitising guidance videos

Some 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, or has of the symptoms listed call 111 or use the online 111 coronavirus service and follow the advice given.

And remember, there’s more comprehensive guidance and resources on our dedicated Coronavirus page.