The NHS in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and Public Health England (PHE) are well prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases. The NHS has put in place measures to ensure the safety of all patients and NHS staff while also ensuring services are available to the public as normal.
Public Health England updated their list of specified areas on 25 February 2020 and the latest advice is as follows.
If you have returned from these specific areas since 19 February 2020, you should call NHS111 and self-isolate even if you do not have symptoms:
- Specific lockdown areas in Northern Italy as designated by the Government of Italy
- Special care zones in South Korea as designated by the Government of the Republic of South Korea
- Hubei province (as previously noted)
If you have returned from these areas since 19 February 2020 and develop symptoms, however mild, you should self-isolate at home immediately and call NHS111. You do not need to self-isolate if you have no symptoms.
- Northern Italy (defined by a line above, and not including, Pisa, Florence and Rimini – this includes alpine ski resorts in Italy, as well as the major cities of Milan, Venice, Turin and Bologna)
If you have returned from previously identified geographic areas within the past 14 days and develop symptoms, however mild, you should self-isolate at home immediately and call NHS111:
- Republic of Korea
- Hong Kong
If you are concerned that you may have been exposed to the virus, do not go to a GP surgery or hospital. Call 111, stay indoors and avoid close contact with other people.
Further information is available at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
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 do not wash their hands.
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.
Testing of suspected coronavirus cases is carried out in line with strict regulations. This means that suspected cases are kept in isolation, away from public areas of the hospital and returned home also in isolation. Any equipment that come into contact with suspected cases are thoroughly cleaned as appropriate. Specific guidance has also been shared with NHS staff to help safeguard them and others. 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 with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. 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. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.