GP coronavirus advice updated as repatriated Britons remain in quarantine

Public Health England (PHE) has revised its advice on the patients most at risk of developing coronavirus. Meanwhile, Britons evacuated from the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak remain in quarantine.

Patients with suspected coronavirus should be instructed not to use public transport or taxis to get to hospital. | GETTY IMAGES
Patients with suspected coronavirus should be instructed not to use public transport or taxis to get to hospital. | GETTY IMAGES

PHE coronavirus guidance for primary care, updated on 31st January, says that the virus is most likely to occur in people who have recently returned from anywhere in mainland China. The guidance had previously suggested it was most likely in travellers returning from the Wuhan area only.

Travellers who develop relevant symptoms (fever or cough or shortness of breath), however mild, within 14 days of returning from mainland China, are advised to self-isolate at home immediately and call NHS 111.

Quarantine

British citizens are currently being repatriated from Wuhan and placed in quarantine at Arrowe Park Hospital in Wirral for 14 days to ensure they are not infected. A final flight is due to leave Wuhan on 9th February.

Passengers and staff who previously arrived in the UK on direct flights from Wuhan are all now outside of the 14-day incubation period or have already left the UK.

The risk level of a coronavirus outbreak in the UK is currently classed as 'moderate'. As of 5 February, a total of 468 UK tests have been carried out for the virus, of which 466 were confirmed negative. Two patients from the same family remain the only confirmed UK cases. 

Guidance

According to PHE's guidance for primary care, fever, cough or chest tightness, and dyspnoea are the main symptoms reported by affected patients. The guidance says the coronavirus may cause mild to moderate illness as well as pneumonia or severe acute respiratory infection.

Practices have been given advice about isolating patients and seeking specialist support, as well as information on cleaning should a patient suspected of having the virus attend the surgery.

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