Further healthcare worker infected with coronavirus in UK

Author: Caroline White

A further healthcare worker, believed to be an A&E doctor working at Worthing Hospital in West Sussex, is among the eight people in the UK who have been diagnosed with coronavirus infection, now renamed covid19.

The hospital is working normally, according to reports by BBC News.

Two other healthcare workers in Brighton, one of whom is thought to be a locum GP, have already been confirmed as testing positive for the virus on Monday, prompting the closure of the surgery for decontamination.

According to BBC News, a nursing home the doctor visited has now been closed to visitors as a precautionary measure: no residents have so far been diagnosed with coronavirus.

As of 11 February, 1358 people have been screened for coronavirus, only eight of whom have tested positive.

On Monday, health and social care secretary, Matt Hancock, announced emergency legal powers to reduce the risk of further person to person transmission of the virus.

These entail forcible quarantine for individuals public health professionals believe are at reasonable risk of having been infected with the virus.

Professor Martin Marshall, chair of the Royal College of GPs, sought to quell mounting public anxieties.

"We're closely monitoring updates from relevant authorities, such as Public Health England (PHE) and equivalent organisations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland,” he said.

"The current threat to the UK is still considered moderate and while eight cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the UK, NHS England and PHE are assuring patients that there are robust arrangements in place to manage the situation.”

He added: "Patients should not be alarmed as it is still more likely that anyone with flu-like symptoms will have the flu.

"However, in light of the members of staff who tested positive for coronavirus in Brighton we'd like to remind the public that it is vital that any patient who thinks they may have symptoms does not try to attend a GP appointment or hospital emergency departments in person.

“They should stay at home and call NHS 111, advising the call handler if they have recently travelled back from one of the following places: China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and/or Macau.”

He advised: "Should a patient arrive at a GP surgery with potential symptoms and who has recently travelled to an affected area, practice staff should place them in isolation, where possible. Current PHE guidelines should then be followed.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office recommends that anybody who has returned from China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and/or Macau in the last 14 days should stay indoors and avoid contact with other people where possible, and advise health authorities of their situation by calling NHS 111, he added.