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Update on Coronavirus and M.E.

March 04, 2020

The UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the Coronavirus (COVID-19) risk to the public from low to moderate.

We appreciate that this may be especially worrying for those already ill. Currently, the situation is that advice from the NHS is the same for all UK residents, including for people with a long-term health condition such as M.E.

  • Most people can continue to go to work, school and other public places
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • Always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • Put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • You only need to stay away from public places (self-isolate) if advised to by the 111 online coronavirus service or a medical professional.

The 25% M.E. Group has shared information specifically for those with severe M.E. on its website.

Given the post-viral risk associated with any virus, and the rapid spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), it is likely that we will see an increase in the number of people being diagnosed with M.E. in the longer term. This risk was raised by Prof Chris Ponting at yesterday’s APPG on M.E. meeting (a full report of which will be published soon), and underlines the serious and urgent need to accelerate research that helps us understand the causes of M.E. and/or CFS.