With news that two cases of corona virus have now been confirmed in the UK, local hospitals and GP surgeries are being told to be on the lookout for anyone with acute respiratory infections who may have travelled from Wuhan, China where the virus originated.
Health professionals are being asked to identify any potential cases, prevent potential transmission and avoid direct physical contact with respiratory secretions.
The guidance comes from the Chief Medical Officer who has issued a statement to reassure the public. Professor Chris Whitty said: “The NHS is extremely well-prepared and used to managing infections and we are already working rapidly to identify any contacts the patients had, to prevent further spread.”
Local hospitals are following strict NHS guidelines and are instructed to obtain an accurate travel history from all patients with acute respiratory infections.
The Department of Health has not released any further details about the identity of the two people in Newcastle, both from the same family, who have tested positive for corona virus. It has however confirmed that they are receiving specialist NHS care in Newcastle’s infectious disease unit.
The World Health Organisation officially declared the coronavirus a global health emergency last night as the death toll in China passed 200.
A special facility has also been set up in Wirral to quarantine the British nationals being evacuated from Wuhan, China.
Meanwhile Goldsmiths, University of London, has issued advice for students and staff,, reassuring them they are “unlikely to catch coronavirus”. Wellbeing advisors and campus support officers are available to deal with any concerns regarding wellbeing, the university said.
Scientists are still assessing exactly how the disease spreads from person to person, there are precautionary measures that people are advised to take in order to stop viruses spreading. Washing hands regularly, for at least 20 seconds, is highly recommended. Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing is advised, or into your elbow if a tissue is not available.