Coronavirus: 12 patients treated by two coronavirus GPs being traced

Coronavirus: 12 patients treated by two coronavirus GPs being traced

  • 12 February 2020
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  • Coronavirus outbreak
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Media captionCoronavirus in the UK: 5 things you need to know about Covid-19

Twelve patients treated by two British GPs with coronavirus are being traced, the BBC understands.

One worked in A&E at Worthing Hospital in West Sussex and the other is a Brighton GP - they are two of the eight UK cases.

Between them, they worked at four different places, including a nursing home, A&E and two GP practices.

Worthing Hospital continues to operate as normal, a Department of Health spokeswoman said.

Two GP practices in Brighton, which had been closed for deep cleaning, have now reopened.

The World Health Organization has named the disease that the virus causes Covid-19.

Public Health England is contacting the small number of patients seen by the GP who worked a shift in A&E, who has since followed advice to self-isolate.

The doctor is the second confirmed healthcare worker to test positive for the virus, after Brighton GP Catriona Greenwood contracted it at a chalet in a French ski resort.

Dr Greenwood is one of 11 people thought to have been infected by Steve Walsh, from Hove, who caught the virus in Singapore before staying at the chalet in France.

Speaking out for the first time on Tuesday, Mr Walsh said he had "fully recovered" from the virus but remained in quarantine.

Image caption Steve Walsh, 53, said his thoughts were with others who have contracted the virus

Prof Neil Ferguson, infectious disease expert from Imperial College London, told the BBC that he thought new cases of the virus could still rise.

"I think we're in the early phases of a global pandemic at the moment," Prof Ferguson said.

He added it was likely that only one in three cases coming into the UK was being picked up.

But John Oxford, emeritus professor of virology at Queen Mary University London said he thought the virus had a weakness - and people's actions could help slow transmission.

"It's not about wearing a mask - it's less of the hand-shaking, touching and kissing," he said, speaking on the Today programme.

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On Monday, the government issued new powers in England to keep people in quarantine to stop the virus spreading.

Under the Department of Health measures, people will not be free to leave quarantine and can be forcibly sent into isolation if they pose a threat.

As of Tuesday evening, a total of 1,358 people have been tested for coronavirus in the UK, of which eight were confirmed positive.

The first two confirmed cases in the UK were a student at the University of York and a relative. They tested positive after being taken ill at a hotel in York.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus and what can help stop its spread?

The main signs of infection are fever (high temperature) and a cough as well as shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

Frequent hand washing with soap or gel, avoiding close contact with people who are ill and not touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, can help cut the risk of infection.

Catching coughs and sneezes in a tissue, binning it and washing your hands can minimise the risk of spreading disease.

Anyone experiencing symptoms, even if mild, after travelling from mainland China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau, is advised to stay indoors and call the NHS 111 phone service.

Two GP practices and a nursing home in Brighton had been closed on Tuesday for deep cleaning, after an infected doctor visited the premises.

The medical centres have now reopened after deep cleaning - and all NHS services in Brighton and Hove are running.

Image copyright PA Wire
Image caption County Oak medical centre in Brighton was closed for cleaning on Monday

The BBC understands that two prisoners on a wing at HMP Bullingdon in Oxfordshire have been tested for the coronavirus after falling ill. One of them, a remand prisoner, had recently returned to the UK from Thailand.

There have now been more than 40,000 cases of the new coronavirus worldwide, which has been declared a global health emergency. The death toll in China stands at 1,016.

On Wednesday morning 39 more cases of the virus were confirmed on board a cruise ship in the Japanese port of Yokohama, with 3,700 passengers and crew on board.

It brings the total number of cases among passengers of the Diamond Princess to 174, the BBC's Tokyo correspondent Rupert Wingfield-Hayes said.

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