This is why people are putting rainbows in their windows during the coronavirus pandemic

Drawings of rainbows have started appearing in the windows of houses across the country.

Thousands of children are being encouraged to make the pictures to ‘spread hope’ amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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Students across the country are stuck at home after the government ordered the closure of all schools in the UK last week in an effort to stem the spread of coronavirus.

‘Make people smile’

Kayleigh Page, a mum of two from Gosforth in Newcastle, said her children were “adding to our window something bright and colourful everyday of isolation.”

In a post on Twitter, Kayleigh told her followers that her children had been feeling a little sad and anxious, and so decided to make bright and colourful art to put on their front window “to make people smile”.

The 25 year old said looking after her daughter, aged seven, and her son, aged four, was a challenge when the schools closed on Friday.

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“The kids found it very odd at first,” Kayleigh said “and were quite down because it is so confusing not having a routine or seeing friends.

“They find it hard to sit still, so the first day was hard,” she added.

‘Get creative’

But when Kayleigh had the idea of making rainbows, the children felt better. The designs have proven so popular that family friends have started making them too.

Kayleigh says she is trying to get as many parents as possible to do the same. “ I would definitely encourage others to get creative like this with their children.

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“Making them made the kids think about all the people they could make smile as they went past our house. It also kept their minds occupied.”

Coronavirus: the facts

What is coronavirus?COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can affect lungs and airways. It is caused by a virus called coronavirus.

What caused coronavirus?The outbreak started in Wuhan in China in December 2019 and it is thought that the virus, like others of its kind, has come from animals.

How is it spread?As this is such a new illness, experts still aren’t sure how it is spread. But, similar viruses are spread in cough droplets. Therefore, covering your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing, and disposing of used tissues straight away is advised. Viruses like coronavirus cannot live outside the body for very long.

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What are the symptoms?The NHS states that the symptoms are: a dry cough, high temperature and shortness of breath - but these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness. Look out for flu-like symptoms, such as aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose and a sore throat. It’s important to remember that some people may become infected but won’t develop any symptoms or feel unwell.

What precautions can be taken?Washing your hands with soap and water thoroughly. The NHS also advises to 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 immediately and try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell. Also avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth unless your hands are clean.

Government adviceAs of Monday 16 March the government advised that everyone should be observing social distancing - avoiding unnecessary travel and working from home where possible. Anyone with a cough or cold symptoms now needs to self-isolate with their entire household for 14 days.

The government has now instructed bars, restaurants and theatres to close and will review on a ‘month to month’ basis. Schools closed from Friday 20 March for the foreseeable future, and exams have been cancelled.

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The over 70s or anyone who is vulnerable or living with an underlying illness are being asked to be extra careful and stay at home to self-isolate. People with serious underlying health conditions will be contacted and strongly advised to undertake "shielding" for 12 weeks.For more information on government advice, please check their website.

Should I avoid public places?The advice now is to avoid public places and any non-essential travel. Travel abroad is also being advised against for the next 30 days at least, and many European countries have closed their borders.

What should I do if I feel unwell?Don’t go to your GP but instead call NHS 111 or look online at the coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and what to do next.

When to call NHS 111NHS 111 should be used if you feel unwell with coronavirus symptoms, have been in a country with a high risk of coronavirus in the last 14 days or if you have been in close contact with someone with the virus.

Sources: World Health Organisation and NHS