Coronavirus attacks the respiratory system much like pneumonia, producing a consistent dry cough and high fever in those who get infected.
Public Health England has outlined that COVID-19 poses the biggest threat to those who have weaker immune systems and long-term – or chronic – illnesses.
Those most at risk are the elderly and those with conditions such as asthma, heart disease, lung disease, diabetes and cancer.
People undergoing treatment for autoimmune health conditions such as HIV and AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease are also considered to have increased risk and are advised to self-isolate, even if they don’t have symptoms.
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The World Health Organisation has outlined that sufferers of asthma are in the increased risk group, but there is no research currently to suggest they are more likely to contract the disease or suffer a more severe illness.
However, as asthmatic people are generally more at risk with seasonal infections such as the flu and other respiratory infections such as pneumonia, they should still take all the necessary precautions such as social distancing and washing hands diligently.
Getting a respiratory infection can make the symptoms of asthma much worse and make someone more likely to have an attack.
Severe asthma is rare but difficult to control. If you are deemed very high risk because of this, the NHS will contact you over the coming week with instructions.
If you have asthma and develop symptoms of COVID-19, you need to self isolate and use the NHS 111 service to book a test.
If you do not have asthma you need to self isolate for 14 days.
Yesterday’s Boris Johnson updated the measures people with health conditions such as asthma need to take to protect themselves from COVID-19.
He said: “By this coming weekend – it will be necessary to go further and to ensure that those with the most serious health conditions are largely shielded from social contact for around 12 weeks.”
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The prime minister is now expected to give a daily statement on the coronavirus crisis.
Coronavirus has now infected over 1500 people in the UK, with 55 fatalities so far.
Worldwide infection rates now stand at 187,000, with 7894 deaths.
Nearly 81,000 people have now recovered.
Italy is the worst infected country outside of China, where the virus first appeared at the end of last year.
The infection rate in China is now slowing down, with only one new known case announced overnight.
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