GP guidance on coronavirus updated to include advice on cleaning

Public Health England's (PHE) interim advice to primary care on Wuhan novel coronavirus (WN-CoV) has been updated with guidance on environmental cleaning following a possible case.

A health worker checks the temperature of a woman entering the subway in Beijing, China at the weekend (Photo: Betsy Joles/Stringer/Getty Images)
A health worker checks the temperature of a woman entering the subway in Beijing, China at the weekend (Photo: Betsy Joles/Stringer/Getty Images)

If a patient suspected of having the virus has attended the surgery, PHE says the room they were seen in should not be used until it has been cleaned with detergent and disinfectant. All items used to care for the patient should be bagged as clinical waste, including the contents of the bin, and quarantined until it is known whether the patient has tested positive for WN-CoV.

Fabric curtains and screens should also be bagged as infectious linen, while any cloths or mop heads used during cleaning should be disposed of as single use items.

If the patient spent any time in communal areas, these should be cleaned with detergent and disinfectant as soon as possible.

According to the initial guidance, GPs who suspect a patient could have the virus during a consultation should leave the room immediately, leaving the patient and their belongings inside, wash their hands and conduct the remainder of the consultation by phone. They should also contact the local health protection team.

If GPs suspect a patient has the virus during a telephone consultation they should avoid a face-to-face assessment in primary care and instead call the local secondary care infection specialist.

Spread of coronavirus

So far no known cases of WN-CoV have been reported in the UK. On Friday, England's chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, said that the risk to the UK public remains low. However he added: 'there may well be cases in the UK at some stage'.

'We have tried and tested measures in place to respond. The UK is well prepared for these types of incidents, with excellent readiness against infectious diseases,' Professor Whitty said.

'We have global experts monitoring the situation around the clock and have a strong track record of managing new forms of infectious disease. We have access to some of the best infectious disease and public health experts in the world from around the UK.'

According to the BBC the number of confirmed cases of the virus in China has reached 2,827 and the number of deaths has risen to 81. At least 20 Chinese cities have been placed on lockdown in an attempt to prevent the virus spreading.

Cases have also been reported in Thailand, Japan, South Korea, the United States, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal, France and Australia.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Health in England 'faltering' after 10 years of austerity, warns damning Marmot review

Health in England 'faltering' after 10 years of austerity, warns damning Marmot review

Life expectancy has stalled, patients are living longer in ill health and health...

Revamped appraisal could combat GP burnout, says former RCGP chair

Revamped appraisal could combat GP burnout, says former RCGP chair

GP appraisal should help doctors avoid burnout by focusing more on wellbeing alongside...

Budget must deliver long-term solution to NHS pension tax crisis, doctors warn

Budget must deliver long-term solution to NHS pension tax crisis, doctors warn

Next month's budget must deliver a long-term solution to the pension tax crisis that...

Indemnity and primary care networks explained

Indemnity and primary care networks explained

It is still early days in the life of PCNs so it’s not surprising that many GPs are...

PCN spending rules relaxed in bid to boost ARRS recruitment

PCN spending rules relaxed in bid to boost ARRS recruitment

Primary care networks (PCNs) that have struggled to recruit in 2019/20 can now use...

RCGP rejects change in stance on assisted dying

RCGP rejects change in stance on assisted dying

The RCGP is set to remain opposed to a change in the law on assisted dying despite...