Health chiefs say they are prepared for coronavirus and issue advice to help prevent infection
Local health chiefs say they are ‘well prepared’ to deal with any cases of coronavirus and have issued advice to help the public protect themselves.
Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which plans and pays for NHS services, says measures are in place to ensure patient safety and services run as normal.
So far, there have been eight confirmed UK cases of the virus which originated in China, while the risk level has been raised to moderate.
On their website the CCG stated: “The NHS in Hartlepool and Stockton-On-Tees and Public Health England (PHE) are extremely well prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases.”
Anyone who has arrived in the UK from mainland China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau within the last 14 days and develops a cough, fever or shortness of breath, should immediately stay indoors and avoid contact with other people.
They should also call NHS 111 to inform them of their recent travel.
Like the common cold, coronavirus infection usually occurs through close contact with a person with novel coronavirus via cough and sneezes or hand contact.
A person can also be infected by touching contaminated surfaces if they don’t wash their hands.
The CCG added: “The risk of being in close contact with a person with coronavirus or contaminated surfaces is very low at the current time, as members of the public who have visited Wuhan, Hubei province, China are currently in isolation.”
NHS staff have also been given guidance to help safeguard them and others.
The CCG said: “Patients can be reassured that their safety is a top priority, and are encouraged to attend all appointments as usual.”
Everyone is being reminded to follow Public Health England advice to:
Always carry tissues and use them to catch coughs and sneezes. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
For the latest information and advice visit Public Health England at www.gov.uk/coronavirus