Harlow is prepared should Coronavirus hit

PHE

HARLOW residents are being warned by GPs not to visit surgeries if they have recently returned from Wuhan, China and feel sick. Instead they should contact NHS 111 for advice.

This warning comes after the Coronavirus outbreak was reported in China in regions like Wuhan, Hubei and Beijing – spreading to all other provinces in the country. Around 200 deaths have been recorded in China, with a further 9,600 infected as of January 29. The virus has now been declared a global emergency by the World Health Organisation.

Compared to other global health emergencies like SARS and MERS, there are more people infected with Coronavirus with 9,600 cases reported, whereas, SARS had 8,000 infected during the 2003 outbreak and MERS had 186 infected in the 2015 Korean outbreak.

The NHS website states, “Those who have visited Wuhan should remain indoors for 14 days and avoid contact with people. While the risk to the UK population remains low, these steps are recommended to limit the potential spread of infection.”

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Princess Alexandra Hospital, in Harlow, is urging patients to follow these precautions and advice.

Church Street General Practice in Bishop Stortford has issued a warning to its patients to stay at home if they notice flu-like symptoms, breathing difficulties or diarrhea after traveling back from China.

The NHS is working with local GPs to identify cases, prevent further spread and use advice from specialists to effectively treat cases.

The University of Essex has reported: “The University of Essex has a large international student population, with a campus in Beijing. We are working closely with Public Health England and sharing information and advice.”

A Harlow College spokeswoman said staff were following government guidelines and urging anyone who had recently returned from China and thought they might have the Coronavirus to stay at home and self-quarantine.

Although the risk is low in the UK, symptoms can include: high temperature, a cough, breathing difficulties and fatigue/tiredness. If you have any of these symptoms after travelling back from China, you are advised to isolate yourself for two weeks and call NHS 111.

 

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Matthew Collings

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