Health officials have warned travellers returning from eight new listed countries and who have developed certain symptoms to self-isolate.
The eight new countries listed as a possible risk by Public Health England (PHE) are Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan.
PHE said if travellers returning from those countries develop symptoms of a cough, fever or shortness of breath to immediately self-isolate and contact NHS 111, even if symptoms are minor.
PHE has also warned those who have come into direct contact with a confirmed case and then developed symptoms to self-isolate and contact NHS 111.
This information comes after yesterday’s (Thursday, February 6) incident where a third person tested positive for the super-bug in Brighton according to some national newspapers, although PHE refused to confirm where the coronavirus had been detected.
Vikki Carruth, director of nursing and director of infection prevention and control, said, “We are following national guidance from Public Health England in terms of our response to the new 2019 novel coronavirus.
“I am incredibly proud of how our staff have worked together to put in place everything that is required of us, to be prepared and respond if needed.
“If anyone has travelled from anywhere in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, or Thailand in the last 14 days or been in contact with a confirmed case and develops symptoms of cough, fever or shortness of breath, they should immediately self-isolate, even if symptoms are minor and call NHS 111 preferably from their own home.
“NHS 111 will advise them on what to do next. NHS 111 is the preferred point of contact for patients with symptoms and concerns about coronavirus.
“In line with national planning both Conquest Hospitals and Eastbourne District General Hospital have established priority assessment pods near each Emergency Department. They are for people to contact NHS 111 for assessment of coronavirus only. Only if NHS 111 deems it necessary will staff test people in the pod.
“I want to stress people should only attend the emergency department if they need urgent or emergency treatment. NHS 111 will advise those individuals who need to attend the assessment pod for testing and will make the necessary arrangements with the hospital.”
A UK-wide public information campaign has been launched to advise the public on how to slow the spread of coronavirus and reduce the impact on NHS services.
“The advice on how people can protect themselves from infection is similar to the ‘Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’ campaign used for flu and norovirus. It promotes important hygiene practices, such as regularly washing hands and always sneezing into a tissue, to stem the spread of viruses.
The advice to the public is to:
• always carry tissues and use them to catch coughs and sneezes, and bin the tissue
• wash hands with soap and water, or use sanitiser gel, to kill germs
“People who have travelled back from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, or Thailand within the last 14 days or those who have had contact with a confirmed case, are being asked to stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with the flu and call NHS 111 for advice.
“Coronavirus presents with flu-like symptoms including a fever, a cough or difficulty breathing. The current evidence is that most cases appear to be mild.”
For further information on coronavirus, visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus.