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Update on coronavirus outbreak (Friday 28 February)

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We would like to assure our residents and staff that we are working closely with Public Health England (PHE) to monitor the outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) globally and locally.

Health alert

Health alert

Going abroad soon, or just returned from a holiday recently? Then follow this guidance.

The situation is changing fast and further guidance is being prepared.

Accurate and up-to-date nformation about the virus and the disease it causes, called COVID-19, is available from the following sources:

General queries about coronavirus can be emailed to wn_coronavirus@phe.gov.uk. Should you have a specific question about the coronavirus, please contact the PHE London coronavirus response cell on LCRC@phe.gov.uk or phone 0300 3030 450.

Advice for travellers (Friday 28 February)

Call NHS 111, stay indoors and avoid contact with other people immediately if you’ve travelled to the UK from:

  • Hubei province in China in the last 14 days, even if you do not have symptoms.
  • Iran, lockdown areas in northern Italy or special care zones in South Korea since 19 February, even if you do not have symptoms.
  • other parts of mainland China or South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan or Thailand in the last 14 days and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath (even if your symptoms are mild).
  • other parts of northern Italy (anywhere north of Pisa, Florence and Rimini), Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar or Vietnam since 19 February and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath (even if your symptoms are mild).

The situation is changing daily and so does the advice. Please check PHE's latest public health advice regularly for information and updates on COVID-19.

What can I do to reduce my risk of catching coronavirus?

Irrespective of travel, good hygiene practice is, as always, very important, and there are things you can do to help stop germs like coronavirus spreading:

  • 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.

Background information

As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world. Typical symptoms of coronavirus infection include fever and a cough that may progress to a severe pneumonia causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

Generally, coronavirus infection is mild but can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. Most deaths in this outbreak have been in people with those characteristics.

All proceedings on managing 2019-nCoV, from initial detection and investigation of possible cases, infection prevention and control, to clinical diagnostics and treatment, are led globally by the World Health Organization (WHO), and in the UK by the NHS and PHE. There are robust protocols in place to isolate and manage cases of imported infections. Healthcare professionals have received advice and instructions, so they are well prepared to assist anyone who is suspected of having 2019-nCoV.

At Barnet Council, our role is to liaise regularly with PHE to share emerging information and provide guidelines to staff, Councillors and the public and ensure business continuity.

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