THE first case of coronavirus has been confirmed by medical authorities in Hampshire.
The sufferer, who has not been identified, is now in a treatment centre in London. They are a resident of Hampshire and had recently travelled to Italy.
It has also not been stated which part of the county they are from but Alison Barnett, centre director for Public Health England South East, said it was contacting people who had close contact with them.
She said: “Those identified will be given health advice about symptoms and emergency contact details to use if they become unwell in the 14-day intervening period.
“If you have not been contacted by Public Health England as a close contact of the confirmed case, you do not need to take any action at this time.
“This tried and tested method will ensure we are able to minimise any risks to those contacted and the wider public.”
Hampshire County Council’s director of public health, Simon Bryant, added: “I’d like to reassure people that the risk to the general public remains low and we are working with health colleagues to do everything we can to stop the virus spreading and ensure the people of Hampshire are protected as much as possible.”
Health and local authorities are strongly encouraging people to follow national government guidance to prevent further spread of the illness and limit the numbers affected.
It includes basic hygiene precautions as the best way of significantly reducing the chances of spreading any virus: sneeze or cough into a tissue, bin it, wash your hands frequently and do not touch your face unless you have just washed your hands.
The threat of coronavirus prompted the Sydenhams Wessex football league to suspend handshakes before and after games.
The league said it was following public health authority guidance in banning RESPECT campaign pre-match handshakes, handshakes by officials and players at the coin toss and handshakes after the full-time whistle.
The suspension took effect on 3rd March and will be enforced until further notice.
Current evidence indicates that most cases of coronavirus appear to be mild, with patients experiencing flu-like symptoms. Older residents or those with weakened immune systems or long-term conditions may experience more severe symptoms.
Mr Bryant said: “These are the same simple steps we all should be taking to avoid other illnesses such as flu which is also prevalent during the winter and it is important that residents help protect themselves and others.
“If you have recently travelled to an affected area, or been in contact with someone who has, and you think you have symptoms associated with the coronavirus, you should not go to A&E or your doctor but self-isolate yourself at home and ring NHS 111 which has an online coronavirus service that can tell if you need medical help and advise you what to do.”
The symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are:
- a high temperature
- a cough
- shortness of breath
Self-isolation means you should:
- stay at home
- not go to work, school or public places
- not use public transport or taxis
- ask friends, family members or delivery services to do errands for you
- try to avoid visitors to your home – it is okay for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food
You may need to do this for up to 14 days to help reduce the possible spread of infection.
For more information on the symptoms and steps to take, go to www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.
For the latest advice for travellers returning from affected areas, plus guidance to schools and care homes, visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
This article was updated on 4th March 2020 with new handshake rules in the Sydenhams Wessex football league.