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Thursday, 30 January 2020 16:49

Corona Virus

Hampshire County Council Public Health update: Novel Coronavirus
Briefing for County Councillors: 28 January 2020

This briefing is intended to provide an up-to-date overview on the evolving picture relating to Novel Coronavirus.

On 31 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, China.
On 12 January 2020 it was announced that a novel coronavirus had been identified in samples obtained from cases and that initial analysis of virus genetic sequences suggested that this was the cause of the outbreak. Public Health England (PHE) is currently using the name Wuhan novel coronavirus (WN-CoV), in the absence of internationally accepted names for the virus and the disease/syndrome it causes. Further information on the disease is available here.
National context
There are currently no confirmed cases of Wuhan novel coronavirus in the UK. Health partners have been carefully monitoring the situation in Wuhan for some time and have put in place proportionate, precautionary measures.
• The risk to the UK population has been assessed as low.
• Since 31 December 2019 and as of 28 January 2020, there have been:
o 4,515 laboratory-confirmed cases 2019-nCoV infection;
o 106 deaths, all reported in China;
o three cases in France, which are the first cases reported in the EU/EEA;
o a small number of diagnosed cases in other countries in travellers from Wuhan; and
o 79 people so far tested in the UK (three in Hampshire) have all been negative.
Local context
Hampshire County Council’s Public Health and Emergency Planning teams are working closely together to monitor the situation, in conjunction with external partners and health colleagues to ensure multi-agency preparedness.
There are two aspects to this work:
• ensuring that the potential impacts on the organisation specifically are mitigated as far as possible;
• ensuring the County Council’s critical services are ready to invoke Business Continuity Plans so that services can continue to be delivered in the event of the virus reaching Hampshire.
Public messages
• Due to the current national risk being assessed as ‘low’, combined with no cases being reported in the UK or Hampshire, it not considered appropriate at this time to issue public messages from the County Council. However, this position will be kept under review.
• As the lead body, Public Health England is managing all public messaging and has published further advice, in the form of questions and answers, for the public here.
• The County Council will be publishing links to this advice.

Ongoing monitoring
• So far, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has not declared the Coronavirus outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
• Should the situation change, established response arrangements will be triggered both within the County Council and through our formal emergency response mechanisms.
Regular updates
• Daily updates are in place between Public Health Hampshire and Public Health England, including the County Council’s Emergency Planning Team.
• Updates to Members will be issued on a weekly basis – unless the situation changes, requiring more frequent communication.