Hunt to track down 12 patients who came into contact with GPs diagnosed with coronavirus

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer

Efforts are attempting to trace a limited number of patients who came into contact with two GPs diagnosed with coronavirus in the UK.

One of the doctors had been working as a locum at Worthing Hospital and is among the eight confirmed cases of coronavirus to date.

Public health officials know that the pair worked at a nursing home, Worthing A&E and two GP practices between them.

Their direct contact with patients is thought to be limited to about 12 people, although they have come into contact with non-patients and other NHS staff.

A healthcare worker at Worthing Hospital is among the eight confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK. (PA)
A man in protective clothing cleaning the County Oak Medical Centre in Brighton. (PA)

The search comes as staff at Worthing Hospital in West Sussex received a memo on Tuesday telling them a staff member working in the A&E department had been diagnosed with the disease.

It said: "They treated a small number of patients on 4th and 5th February before they became unwell, followed advice and self-isolated."

Read more: Coronavirus cases may ease in summer before re-emerging in winter, experts say

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said all services at the hospital, including surgery and out patients, are operating normally.

It is understood the healthcare worker at Worthing Hospital is not the same person as the locum doctor working in Brighton, who is also one of the eight cases.

Staff at the West Sussex hospital received a memo on Tuesday telling them a member of staff working in the A&E department had been diagnosed with the disease. (PA)

A source told the PA news agency on Tuesday that one of the GPs, who was a locum at County Oak Medical Centre, had only carried out one day of admin work there recently and had not had any direct contact with patients.

On Wednesday morning, the surgery, which was closed for a deep clean, reopened with a "limited service".

Confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK so far (PA)

Chinese Grand Prix cancelled

Formula One has confirmed that the Chinese Grand Prix will be postponed following the outbreak of coronavirus.

The disease has claimed more than 1,000 lives in China, and it has been decided that the race, originally scheduled to take place in Shanghai on April 19, can no longer go ahead as planned.

The F1 race becomes the latest sporting event to be cancelled in China.

The sport's governing body, the FIA, said in a statement: "In view of the continued spread of novel coronavirus and after ongoing discussions with the Federation of Automobile and Motorcycle Sports of People's Republic of China (CAMF) and Shanghai Administration of Sports, the Chinese Grand Prix Promoter, Juss Sports Group, has officially requested that the 2020 FIA Formula One Chinese Grand Prix be postponed.

"The FIA, together with Formula One, have have jointly decided to accept this official request from the promoter and postpone the 2020 FIA Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix, originally scheduled for 19 April.

"As a result of continued health concerns and with the World Health Organisation declaring the coronavirus as a global health emergency, the FIA and Formula One have taken these measures in order to ensure the health and safety of the travelling staff, championship participants and fans, which remains of primary concern."

Possible new cases

It is understood that two prisoners at HMP Bullingdon in Oxfordshire are being tested for the illness and are being held in isolation.

Access to one of the wings of the Category B prison has been restricted, and one of the men is understood to have recently been transferred from a Thai jail.

They are both reported to be suffering flu-like symptoms.

Read more: Brits stranded at sea after cruise ship refused entry to Thailand over coronavirus fears

New name

The World Health Organisation has announced a name for the new coronavirus – Covid-19.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO), told a press conference a name was decided that "did not refer to a geographical location, an animal, an individual or group of people, and which is also pronounceable and related to the disease”.

Dr Ghebreyesus described the outbreak as "a very grave threat for the rest of the world”.

Cleaning equipment arrives at the County Oak Medical Centre in Brighton following reports a member of staff there was one of those infected with coronavirus. (PA)

Coronavirus in the UK

As of Tuesday evening, a total of 1,358 people have been tested for coronavirus in the UK, of whom 1,350 were confirmed negative and eight positive, the Department of Health said.

On Tuesday, Boris Johnson praised the response of the NHS and said anyone concerned should "simply follow their advice”.

Read more: Coronavirus: how to wash your hands to ward off infection

Speaking in Birmingham, the prime minister said: "We are a great country, we have got a fantastic NHS, we have got fantastic doctors and advice, and they should simply take the advice of the NHS.

"People have every reason to be confident and calm about all that kind of thing... all the coronavirus, and any threats from disease.”