Dedicated areas in place at Queen’s and King George Hospitals to treat suspected coronavirus cases

PUBLISHED: 12:23 24 February 2020 | UPDATED: 11:30 09 March 2020

Dedicated areas have been set up at Queen’s and King George Hospitals in a response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the hospitals in Romford and Goodmayes, posted a video on Twitter explaining what actions it has been taking as part of a national response to the outbreak.

Dr Magda Smith, chief medical officer, said dedicated areas, known as pods, are now in place at both Queen's and King George to treat ayone suspected of carrying coronavirus - also known as Covid-19.

"These are for people who have been directed by NHS 111 to either of our hospitals and have symptoms of the virus and have been to one of the affected countries in the last 14 days, or have had contact with someone with a confirmed case.

"We have identified and trained those members of frontline staff who are most likely to come into contact with patients at risk including across both of our emergency departments, so they know what actions they need to take."

Dr Smith wanted to reassure people that the risk of infection is low.

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She said: "Current Public Health England advice is that if you have flu-like symptoms including a fever, a cough, or difficulty breathing, please ring 111 and follow their instructions."

Of the 13 people in the UK diagnosed with coronavirus, eight have been discharged from hospital. One remains at St Thomas' Hospital in London.

The death toll in China passed 2,500 deaths early on Monday, with the country's authorities also reporting 77,345 people had tested positive for Covid-19.

The increases came as South Korea reported another two deaths - taking its total to seven - and a rise in confirmed cases by 161 to 763.

The University of East Anglia's Professor Paul Hunter said recent cases outside China have been "extremely concerning".

He listed South Korea, Japan and Iran as causes for concern and said a cluster of cases in Italy is "a big worry for Europe".

He said: "The director-general of the World Health Organisation has recently spoken of a narrowing of the window of opportunity to control the current epidemic.

"The tipping point after which our ability to prevent a global pandemic seems a lot closer after the past 24 hours."

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