Doctors and health professionals in Lytham have been told to isolate anyone who has recently travelled from Wuhan in China with symptoms that indicate coronavirus.
The World Health Organisation say the main symptoms of the new coronavirus are fever, cough or chest tightness.
If an unwell person with a relevant travel history is identified on booking in at reception, doctors have been told to place the patient in a room away from other members of the public and staff.
If coronavirus is considered possible when a consultation is already in progress, the practitioner should withdraw from the room, close the door and wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water. The health professional should avoid physical examination of a suspected case. The patient should remain in the room with their belongings. The door must remain closed. Others should not enter the room. If a clinical history still needs to be obtained or completed, this should be done by telephone. The patient should not be allowed to use communal toilet facilities.
Surgeries have been told that anyone suspected of having the virus during a phone consultation should not be invited in for a face-to-face assessment. In all cases of suspected coronavirus, local infectious disease specialists should be contacted for information on what to do next.
Meanwhile a GP partner has commented: ‘None of our consulting rooms are lockable, and if they were I’m not sure it would be legal to detain someone like this for two hours while we wait for an ambulance. How about a little note given to everyone arriving from China: ‘if you are unwell, do not go and see your GP. Do not pitch up at A&E. Stay in your house and call NHS111’. Better still, suspend flights from affected area, much easier to contain then, and puts far fewer people at risk.’ There are ten direct flights between Wuhan and London Heathrow Airport per week
As of 25 January 2020 a number of confirmed cases from outside of China have been diagnosed, mostly involving travellers from Wuhan. These cases are in Australia (1 case), France (3 cases), Hong Kong (5 cases), Japan (2 cases), Macau (2 cases), Republic of Korea (2 cases), Singapore (3 cases), Taiwan (3 cases), Thailand (5 cases), the United States of America (2 cases), and Vietnam (2 cases). There are currently no confirmed cases of this new infection in the UK.