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NHS guidelines on the Novel Coronavirus

NHS guidelines on the Novel Coronavirus

February 6, 2020

Written by Assistant Litigation Executive, Nermeen Salahuddin

The NHS has issued guidelines to the public following the recent outbreak of novel Coronavirus in Wuhan in order to combat any risk to the UK public.

As per gov.uk; a coronavirus is a type of virus causing fever and a cough that may progress to severe pneumonia causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

This new type of virus was first identified in Wuhan City, China in December 2019. As of 27th January 2020, the death roll has risen to at least 80, with 2744 confirmed cases.

Travel restrictions and a cause for international concern?

The virus’ outbreak has led to travel restrictions and a lock down of the city of Wuhan itself. China has now introduced port-of-exit screening in order to prevent individuals who exhibit symptoms to leave the country and avoid further infections in other parts of the world.

According to the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England, advanced monitoring at all airports with direct flights from China have been put in place. It has been stated on their website that ‘a team of public health experts has been established in Heathrow to support anyone travelling in from China who feels unwell’. Hubs have been put in place that will have a rotational team of 7 clinicians to support travellers upon arrival. These shift workers are in addition to permanent medical staff already in place at all UK airports.

Providing UK residents with the latest Coronavirus information

The Chief Medical Officer, Medical Director at PHE and Medical Director at NHSE has also communicated advice via a CAS (Central Alerting System) alert to all frontline staff to ‘increase awareness of the situation and any actions to take’.

Subsequently, most individuals will develop symptoms after leaving the airport, therefore the priority is to provide UK residents and travellers with the latest information and to make sure they know what to do if they experience symptoms.

Coronavirus: recognising the symptoms

Public Health England have tested 70 people in relation to the virus, with all tests to date being negative.

Although the risk in the UK of getting the illness is low, the NHS have published a set of guidelines:

  • Wash hands regularly with soap and water
  • Avoid visiting animal and bird markets
  • Avoid contact with anyone who is ill with a cough or has difficulty breathing

For those who have returned from Wuhan in the last 14 days, gov.uk advises individuals to:

  • Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with other flu viruses
  • Contact NHS 111 to inform them of your recent travel to the city
  • Call your GP if you are in Northern Ireland

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