COVID-19: investigation and initial clinical management of possible cases

Information on case definitions, and the initial assessment and investigation of possible cases of COVID-19 infection.


Flow chart for management of a suspected case of COVID-19

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These documents provide information relating to the initial investigation and management of possible cases of COVID-19.

There may be further information specific to each country in the United Kingdom, as this guidance was written by Public Health England primarily for an English health professional audience. To see if country specific information is available, please refer to Health Protection Scotland, Public Health Wales, or Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland.

Published 10 January 2020
Last updated 27 March 2020 + show all updates
  1. Added 'Priorities for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) testing'.

  2. Updated flowchart.

  3. Removed minimum dataset form. Added a note relating to testing inpatients.

  4. Revised case definitions.

  5. Removed flowchart.

  6. Updated clarification of case definition for ‘admission to hospital’ and ‘influenza like illness’.

  7. Revised case definitions and updated flowchart.

  8. Flow chart updated with MERS.

  9. Added consideration of MERS testing for relevant travellers.

  10. Updated specified countries and areas.

  11. Clarification of epidemiological criteria, and sampling and testing.

  12. Updated with new guidance on 'results of testing'.

  13. Updated flow chart.

  14. Updated flowchart.

  15. Updated flowchart for management of suspected cases.

  16. Addition to case definition.

  17. In addition to China, specified countries are Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand. Flowchart also updated.

  18. Clarification of definition of mainland China.

  19. Updated definition of contact.

  20. Flowchart updated with '2019-nCoV' terminology

  21. Updated 'Results of testing' section.

  22. Added 'Minimum data set' form.

  23. Updated terminology for novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), and added flow chart.

  24. Update to case definitions and guidance for discharge.

  25. Updated advice and included link for who to call to request testing.

  26. Added information on management of confirmed cases in England.

  27. Updated with case definitions and guidance on sampling.

  28. First published.