In an effort to improve response times, NHS 111 is recommending that patients concerned about COVID-19 should use the online assessment tool in the first instance.
The NHS in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland and Public Health England (PHE) are extremely 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.
If you have arrived back to the UK from Cambodia, mainland China, Thailand, Japan, Laos, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau, Myanmar, Vietnam within the last 14 days, travellers do not need to undertake any special measures, but if they develop symptoms they should self-isolate and call NHS 111.
If you have arrived back within the last 14 days from Wuhan city or Hubei Province, Iran, Daegu or Cheongdo or Italy**. Travellers should self isolate, even if you have no symptoms and use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do next. Go home or to your destination and then self-isolate.
** The guidance for Italy applies to travellers who returned from the country on or after 9 March 2020. Travellers who returned from areas of Northern Italy that were under containment measures between 19 February and 8 March 2020 should self-isolate for 14 days. If they develop symptoms they should contact NHS111. Travellers who returned from the rest of Italy before 9 March 2020 do not need to undertake any special measures, but if they develop symptoms they should self-isolate and call NHS 111.
Anyone who has travelled to the places listed above in the last 14 days and develops symptoms of cough or fever or shortness of breath, should immediately:
•Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with the flu
•Call NHS 111 to inform them of your recent travel to the country
Information for the public is available at gov.uk/coronavirus.
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.
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 hospitals and GP practices and returned home also in isolation. Any equipment that comes 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.
You can find the latest information and advice from Public Health England at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
What can I do to reduce my risk of catching coronavirus?
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 more often than usual, for 20 seconds each time with soap and water or hand sanitiser, especially when you:
oget home or into work
oblow your nose, sneeze or cough
oeat or handle food
•avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
•avoid close contact with people who are unwell
What does self-isolation mean for people who don’t have symptoms?
If you have been asked to self-isolate because of your recent travel, but had no symptoms, make sure you report any cough, fever or shortness of breath to NHS111, telling them you are being asked to self-isolate because of coronavirus.
If you have been given a designated medical contact point, you can also call them for advice and they will talk you through the next steps.