Embracing better health for all


Home About Us Your health and services Have your say Library News Events Contact Us Login
Home » Your health and services » Coronavirus: public information

What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is a new illness, a virus that can affect your lungs and airways. Anyone who has symptoms, however mild, or is in a household where someone has symptoms, should not leave their house to go to work.

Those people should self-isolate for 10 days, as should those in their households for 14 days.

You can find more information about the vaccination on the dedicated Suffolk and North East Essex COVID vaccination website.


What you need to do

  Anyone can spread the virus:

- stay at home as much as possible
- work from home if you can
- limit contact with other people
- keep your distance from people not in your household (2 metres apart where possible)
- wash your hands regularly
- The most important symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of any of the following symptoms. Please do not leave home if you or someone you live with has any of the following:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste

If you have coronavirus symptoms, please get a test now.

At the moment it can be hard to know what to do if you’re unwell, and it’s obviously still important to get medical help if you need it. You can find NHS guidance on using other NHS services on the NHS Covid-19 page


Quick links



On this page, we've collated some information that will help you stay well during the coronavirus outbreak.

However, for the most up-to-date information, please visit gov.uk/coronavirus and nhs.uk/coronavirus

What's on this page?

healthcare worker vaccinating a patient

Coronavirus vaccinations


Information on the coronavirus vaccine is being hosted on a dedicated COVID-19 vaccination website. This information is relevant to everyone living in west Suffolk, Ipswich and east Suffolk and north east Essex.

Get more information on the vaccine now



Covid-19 information in other languages and formats


Written and audio COVID19 advice

Doctors of the World provide written and audio COVID-19 advice for patients in 60 languages, which were produced in partnership with the British Red Cross. Translated documents are updated regularly in line with the latest NHS and government guidance.



Videos with key COVID19 information for migrants living in the UK

Doctors of the World, in partnership with the Mayor of London, has produced motion graphic videos with key COVID19 information for migrants living in the UK.

These are available in 11 priority languages: Bengali, Bulgarian, English, Kurdish Sorani, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Traditional Chinese, Turkish and Vietnamese. The videos contain the latest advice from the UK government, including information on COVID-19 testing and wearing face masks.



Further Translated Materials



Chinese (simplified)










Punjabi Gurmukhi

Punjabi Shahmukhi








Community Events

21 January 2021

The next community event will take place virtually on 21 January 2021. This is your opportunity to ask any questions you may have about how we're tackling coronavirus in Suffolk and north east Essex, including any queries you may have about the vaccination roll-out.

Get more information on this event >

21 December 2020 

On Monday 21 December 2020, the system held an event for local people to find out more about coronavirus.  A panel of experts updated local people about the roll out of the vaccination, answered questions about the virus and gave wellbeing advice in the lead up and during Christmas.  While this event was open to everyone, it was particularly aimed at ‘seldom heard’ groups and those people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities.  A recording of the event can be viewed via the event page.


Information in accessible formats


Access information on coronavirus in accessible formats and different languages.

Large Print

Easy Read


As well as reading the information below, please make sure you fill in this Grab and Go form. The form will help doctors and nurses treat you if you go to hospital because of COVID-19 and, for example, are struggling to breathe.

Here is some guidance which will help you complete the form.

It is not a replacement for the everyday, detailed hospital passport. You should update your hospital passport and take that to hospital along with the Grab and Go guide if you need to be admitted. You can download a hospital passport from the Mencap website.

How to wash your hands - a video from Mencap


Video still of Mencap handwashing video


Explaining the Tier system in England



Making Friends with your Face Mask



Supporting a person with a learning disability to wear a face mask



Christmas Bubbles – explaining the coronavirus rules over Christmas






Join a COVID-19 clinical trial


The PRINCIPLE trial aims to find treatments that reduce hospital admission and improve symptoms for people with COVID-19. You could be eligible to join if:

  • You have had these symptoms for fewer than 15 days:
    ► a continuous new or worsening cough
    ► a high temperature
  • You are aged 50 to 64 with a pre-existing illness
  • You are aged 65 and above

Get more information about the clinical trial


Looking after your wellbeing


You can find information on how to look after your well-being during the Covid-19 outbreak on the Living Life To The Full website.

If you're a carer, you can also find information for carers on the Carers UK website, which will help you to take care of your own health.

Colchester Borough Council also have a handy list of contacts for communities. From resources for BAME communities to support for victims of domestic and sexual abuse. Plus, information on how you can help your community.


Worried about the health of a child?


If you're concerned about the health of a child, please don't ever worry about seeking help.

Even in these challenging times, the NHS is here for you. Why not keep this list of symptoms to look out for in poorly children handy? Download it to your device or print it out and stick it to your fridge.


Resources for families


From guidance on how to talk to children about the virus to tips on managing relationships at home. The Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service has put together a coronavirus resource hub to help families through this uncertain period.

We've also collated some additional resources to help children understand coronavirus:


Managing long-term conditions


Leading charities and organisations have published guidance for people with long-term conditions. Visit the below websites for information on how to manage your condition during the coronavirus outbreak.


Including how to manage your asthma to reduce the risk from Covid-19 and what to do if your asthma is getting worse.



Including what you should do if you have COPD and how to manage your COPD well at this time.


Other lung conditions

Including what should people with a lung condition do now and how to cope with staying at home.


Heart disease

Including how Covid-19 can affect people with heart disease and information on Covid-19 and heart medication.



Including staying at home and managing diabetes.



Including staying active when you’re at home and managing your mental health.


Multiple Sclerosis

Including practical advice for managing MS and information about disease modifying therapies and Covid-19.



Including advice for families looking after someone with dementia, and coping without support groups or day centres during the Covid-19 outbreak.



Including advice regarding managing pain at home and looking after your wellbeing.



Isolation Note

If you or someone you live with are exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus, use the NHS 111 isolation note service to provide a note for your employer.



Respiratory Rescue Packs


We have been made aware of some inaccurate information circulating regarding special ‘rescue packs’ for patients with pre-existing respiratory conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Please do not contact your GP practice for a rescue pack if you have asthma. Some COPD patients may have a rescue pack as part of an existing management plan and should use according to this plan, all other COPD patients should continue to manage their condition in the normal way and should not contact their practice for a rescue pack.

You should continue to manage your condition in the usual way and if you feel you have symptoms of COVID-19, go to www.111.nhs.uk/covid-19 before doing anything else


Cancellation of CCG meetings


Given the current and unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus on the UK health system and wider partners, the NHS Ipswich & East Suffolk, NHS West Suffolk and NHS North East Essex CCGs will be rationalising their scope of work and meetings. The decision has been made to cancel the majority of CCG meetings that involve wider partners to enable the prioritization of clinical work.

Any meetings held by the CCGs will be held virtually to reduce the risks of transmission to NHS and partner staff.

Although public meetings will be held behind closed doors, the public, as always, are welcome to ask questions. Queries can be sent in advance of the scheduled meetings to our joint Communications Team at neeccg.comms@nhs.net or comms@suffolk.nhs.uk.

Our Governing body meetings will still be live streamed via Youtube and the public can pose questions via the live chat function. Both the Governing body meetings and the GP commissioning committee meetings will be recorded and uploaded to our website shortly after the meeting. You can find the details for any upcoming meetings on the events page.

Agendas and timings for meetings can be found on the CCG websites:


Statutory functions will of course have to be discharged, however this move will free up our clinical and non-clinical staff to support our population and providers in these challenging times.

The CCGs’ chief operating officers (Maddie Baker-Woods - Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG, Kate Vaughton - West Suffolk CCG, and Pam Green - North East Essex CCG) will review with alliance colleagues the local programmes of work and agree with local partners what work will be postponed. These decisions will be communicated via local channels and teams.

If you have any questions, please contact us at neeccg.comms@nhs.net or comms@suffolk.nhs.uk




Bereavement is very difficult to deal with at all times. And right now, you may not be able to turn to your usual support network. To help, Essex County Council have put together some resources to help the bereaved find the support they need at this time.

Privacy Information


Please see supplementary information on how personal information is being used during the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Please see privacy information regarding testing for coronavirus.

If you are working in a GP practice and getting tested through your workplace, please see privacy information. Please note that this is different to the testing for coronavirus privacy information above. 

To find out more information about the national COVID-19 and flu vaccination programme please see the NHS England website.

The steps we're taking to keep our staff safe


As of the 7th August 2020, 100% of all risk assessments have been completed by staff available at work (staff on maternity leave and long-term absence have not been included at this point).  With specific reference to the BAME group of colleagues, currently 100% of BAME staff have completed their risk assessments.  The risk assessment process is an ongoing process and regular updates will be provided.

You can find the figures regarding the risk assessments below:

Risk Assessment Figures 

« Back