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Are we prepared for the coronavirus?

Are we prepared for the coronavirus?

Friday 24 January 2020

Are we prepared for the coronavirus?

Friday 24 January 2020

As countries across the world step up their security measures to keep the deadly coronavirus at bay, Guernsey's health experts say the island is in a "good position" to respond to the situation.

Earlier this month, it was announced the virus had been identified in Wuhan, in China, and was linked to a seafood wholesale market.

More than 500 cases have been reported - the majority of which are in mainland China - and at least 17 people have died from the virus.

"Although evidence is still emerging, information to date indicates human-to-human transmission is occurring in close contacts of infected patients and healthcare workers," a spokesperson for Health & Social Care said.


Pictured: Director of Public Health, Dr Nicola Brink.

"The routes of transmission or incubation period of 2019-nCoV [this particular coronavirus] are not fully clear yet, however, other coronaviruses are mainly transmitted by large respiratory droplets and direct or indirect contact with infected secretions. In addition to respiratory secretions, other coronaviruses have been detected in blood, faeces and urine."

A small number of cases have been diagnosed in travellers in Thailand, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and America.

Although the virus is not thought to have reached the UK yet, Guernsey's Public Health Services are reviewing the situation daily and will brief local organisations as the situation develops.

Some countries have started screening travellers at airports, while the UK will be taking a number of measures to monitor direct flights from Wuhan.

Guernsey airport

Pictured: There are currently no plans to screen passengers coming into Guernsey Airport.

While local Public Health Services say they will follow the changes closely, there are not currently any plans to introduce screening at Bailiwick ports. This will continue to be reassessed as new information is released.

"The risk to visitors to Wuhan is moderate reflecting an increase in the number of cases being identified in China and evidence that the virus has limited spread from person to person," the spokesperson continued. "People travelling are advised to maintain good hand, respiratory and personal hygiene, and avoid visiting animal and bird markets or people who are ill with respiratory symptoms."

Anyone experiencing flu like symptoms within 14 days of visiting the city of Wuhan are advised to immediately seek medical attention. They must phone ahead before attending any health services and mention their recent travel to the city, so healthcare workers ensure sufficient precautions are in place.

Pictured top: Hundreds of cases have been reported.

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