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Coronavirus - Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)

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On 31st December 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) was informed of a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province in China. Early in January 2020 it was announced that a novel coronavirus had been identified, linked to a Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan City.

Public Health Services have been working with colleagues in Jersey and the UK to provide information and advice as the situation regarding the coronavirus develops. This page was last updated on 17 February 2020 at 16.30 hrs.

The virus was originally referred to as 2019-nCoV novel coronavirus. On 11 February 2020 the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses designated a name to this new coronavirus-Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). On the same day, the World Health Organization named the disease that is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 as COVID-19.

There are no cases of COVID-19 in the Bailiwick and only 9 confirmed cases in the UK.

Testing undertaken by Public Health Services in Guernsey:

Number of samples testedPositive resultsNegative resultsAwaiting results
110110

 

Testing for COVID-19 is carried out by a UK specialist laboratory. The increase in demand on the UK laboratories has increased the time it takes to receive confirmed results from the standard 48 hours. For those individuals for whom we are awaiting the results, it is important to emphasize that they could be suffering from flu or another ailment. The delay in results is not an indication of a potential positive result.

  • Affected areas as at 7 February 2020 - definition of affected areas updated on 17 February 2020

    • The list of 'affected areas' is not a list of affected countries. The list is updated following detailed analysis of data regarding the spread and transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Guernsey Public Health Services collates information from the World Health Organisation and Public Health England but also assesses the risks for Guernsey and its health infrastructure. The advice takes into account a number of factors including the number of confirmed cases and how they were contracted. A local Scientific and Technical Advice team considers this data on a regular basis. The current advice with regard to affected areas has been in place since 7 February 2020 and is reviewed regularly.
    • The list of affected areas is critical as it forms the basis of the current case definition - see 'Updated symptoms of possible cases of COVID-19' below.
    • The following specified countries are included in the definition of an affected are:
      • Mainland ChinaThailandRepublic of South Korea
        JapanHong KongTaiwan
        SingaporeMalaysiaMacau

         

  • What to do if you have returned from Mainland China in the last 14 days and have no symptoms

    • Public Health Services strongly advise that you self-isolate for a period of 14 days. If you develop any symptoms such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath you should phone your GP or the Emergency Department at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital, the Infection Prevention and Control Team or Public Health Services (all available through the Princess Elizabeth Hospital switchboard - 01481 725241). Further information on self-isolation can be downloaded from this page.
  • What is Self-Isolation? - updated 7 February 2020

    • Self-Isolation is the act of separating yourself from physical contact with the rest of the community for a specified period of time.
    • This is for the good of the community, so that we can stop the possible spread of SARS-CoV-2 . We appreciate your help and support in trying to stop the spread of any infection in the Bailiwick.
    • Further information on self-isolation can be downloaded on this page.
  • What to do if you have returned from an affected area in the last 14 days and you are feeling unwell

    • If you have returned from an affected area in the last 14 days and have a fever, cough or shortness of breath seek immediate medical advice and attention by contacting your GP or the Emergency Department at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital, the Infection Prevention and Control Team or Public Health Services (all available through the Princess Elizabeth Hospital switchboard - 01481 725241). Please phone ahead, if possible, before attending the Emergency Department or any healthcare provider, such as your GP. If you are very unwell and need an ambulance phone 999 and tell them your symptoms and travel history.
    • Please do not visit your GP or the Emergency Department at the PEH unannounced.
  • Updated symptoms of possible cases of COVID-19- as at 7 February 2020

    • In the 14 days before the onset of illness:
      • travel to China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Republic of South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, or Thailand, OR
      • contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19
    • AND presenting with:
      • severe acute respiratory infection requiring admission to hospital with clinical or radiological evidence of pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome; or
      • acute respiratory infection of any degree of severity, including at least one of shortness of breath or cough (with or without fever); or
      • fever with no other symptoms
    • Clinicians should be alert to the possibility of atypical presentations in patients who are immunocompromised.
  • Advice on Travel

    • Advice on travel can be obtained from: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/outbreaks.
    • As of the on 29 January 2020, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all unnecessary travel to China. However, this is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk and advice on travel may change at short notice. Everyone travelling to affected areas need to consider this in their travel plans and check the FCO website regularly for updates https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/foreign-commonwealth-office.
    • For people who are travelling we advise:
      • Hand washing. Frequent and careful hand washing is one of the most important ways of preventing the spread of infection. If soap, clean water and towels are not available, alcohol hand rub can be used. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth unless your hands are clean.
      • Avoid close contact with people who appear unwell and their personal items.
      • Avoid contact with animals and the places where they are present, for example, bird/animal markets, commercial or backyard farms. Also avoid contact with sick or dead animals or birds.
      • Do not eat uncooked or undercooked poultry or meat. All meat and poultry, including eggs must be thoroughly cooked.
      • If you become unwell with a fever, cough or difficulty with breathing, promptly seek out medical attention. Do not wait until you get home.
  • Simple daily precautions to prevent the spread of a virus

    • Simple daily precautions to help prevent the spread of respiratory illness. These include:
      • Avoid close contact with people who are sick and have travelled to an area affected by the novel coronavirus.
      • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
      • Wash your hands frequently or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
      • Follow good hygiene practices: cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, use tissues only once, disposing of them promptly and carefully, wash hands frequently.
  • About Coronaviruses

    • Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses with some causing less-severe disease, such as the common cold, and others causing more severe disease such as Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which caused an outbreak in 2012 and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronaviruses, which also caused an outbreak back in 2002.
    • Sustained human-to-human transmission has been reported - occurring in close contacts of infected patients and healthcare workers.
  • Transmission

    • The routes of transmission or incubation period of SARS-CoV-2 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.
    • The incubation period is thought to be between 3 and 14 days.
  • Our local response

    • Public Health Services will continue to provide updates as the situation develops. In the meantime we are advising that everyone should always take simple daily precautions to help prevent the spread of respiratory illness. These include:
      • Avoid close contact with people who are sick and have travelled to an area affected by the SARS-CoV-2.
      • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
      • Wash your hands frequently or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser;
      • Follow good hygiene practices: cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, use tissues only once, disposing of them promptly and carefully, wash hands frequently.
    • Health & Social Care are working with other States Committees to ensure that we are prepared for cases locally.
    • We have considered our local response and plans are in place to manage a case of COVID-19 presenting to us. These have recently been tested when we exercised our Pandemic Influenza Plan in November last year. Many of the plans related to pandemic influenza are also relevant for an emerging novel respiratory virus. Our local plans may differ from those from Public Health England as we will consider the consequences of living on a small island and the impact of infection with SARS-CoV-2 Guernsey has limited health infrastructures (e.g. we only have one hospital) and the protection of our public health is paramount.
    • Further information can be found here:
  • Media Releases issued regarding SARS-CoV-2

Downloads

Have you been to Mainland China in the last 14 days ? Self-isolation Advice - updated 7 February 2020 Have you recently returned from an affected area? Have you recently returned from an affected area and are feeling unwell? Are you travelling to an affected area? Information for Schools & Colleges - 6 February 2020 How do I protect myself? Catch it, Kill it, Bin it

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