Coronavirus update - Tuesday 11 February

City leaders this afternoon gave reassurance to residents and visitors about action being taken following reports of coronavirus in the city. Teams have been working round the clock to prevent the spread of the virus.

At 5pm today, council leader Nancy Platts and Chief Executive Geoff Raw invited media to Hove Town Hall to speak about all that is being done by the council.

They discussed the good work being done by the council’s Public Health team, led by the Director of Public Health, alongside colleagues from local and national NHS services and Public Health England.

Council leader Nancy Platts said:

“We thought it would be helpful to gather the media together because we know people are worried about the coronavirus.  One of the messages we wanted to get across today is that would like everyone to practice good hygiene so we’re asking everyone in the city to make sure they’re washing their hands properly, using tissues and hand gel.

“We would like anyone who owns a public space, such as bars, cafes, restaurants, pubs, gyms, anywhere the public uses that they’re washing down equipment and surfaces regularly and adopting hygiene methods to keep people safe.”

Chief Executive Geoff Raw said:

“I want to give some reassuring messages that we’re working closely with our local NHS partners, with Public Health England and we have a direct line into the Chief Medical Officer.  We are working together as a seamless team to manage this situation that we have in Brighton & Hove.  We’re making good, steady progress.

“What is important is that the information we give is correct, consistent and responsible.  If we give inconsistent and incorrect messages it can lead to more concern.”

Respecting patient confidentiality

The leader and the Chief Executive spoke about the need to respect patient confidentiality and let information be announced by the Chief Medical Officer.

Schools

When asked about schools in the city and parents’ concerns Geoff Raw said that we have a good relationship with our city schools.  He explained that senior council officers have been in contact with headteachers and regular updates are being sent. 

Public Health England and the office of the Chief Medical Officer say that schools should remain open.  It is ultimately the decision of each school whether they choose to remain open, but we will support schools in the decisions they make.

Advice

If you have not been contacted by PHE as a close contact, you do not need to take any action at this time. 

Those who have been told to 'self-isolate' are being asked to take sensible precautions, such as staying at home and not going to work or college. This is the same common sense as avoiding people if they are suffering from a heavy cold or the winter flu. 

During this time, the patients will be supported and monitored by PHE. 

Everyone should follow the advice issued by PHE in relation to returning travellers.

If you do feel unwell having travelled to the UK from mainland China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the last 14 days, then you should stay indoors and call NHS 111, even if symptoms are mild. 

If you have travelled from Wuhan or Hubei province in the last 14 days then you should stay indoors and avoid contact with others as you would with flu, and call NHS 111 informing them of your symptoms and inform them of your recent travel to the city.

Everyone is being reminded to follow Public Health England advice to:

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands with soap and water
  • 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.

You can find the latest information and advice from Public Health England at www.gov.uk/coronavirus

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