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Coronavirus in Cornwall: Officials say 'risk is low'

Coronavirus in Cornwall: Officials say 'risk is low'

Published by Emma Carton at 7:20am 6th March 2020. (Updated at 2:14pm 6th March 2020)

Health bosses have issued a message of reassurance as Cornwall's first case of coronavirus is confirmed.

We know the resident was infected in northern Italy.

However officials have not revealed where they are from yet.

Cornwall Council and Public Health England released a joint statement on Thursday, insisting the risk to locals is low.

"I'd like to reassure people that the risk to the general public remains low".

The total number of confirmed cases in the United Kingdom now stands at 116.

It comes after a Reading patient with underlying health problems became the first person in the UK to die from the disease.

What do we know about the first case in Cornwall?

The details about the case in Cornwall are still limited.

The patient is a resident in the county who was became infected in northern Italy.

We know they had returned to the UK, but we do not know whereabouts in the Duchy they are from.

Close contacts are currently being given health advice about symptoms and emergency contacts if they become ill in the 14 days after contact.

However officials say if you have not been contacted by Public Health England, you do not need to take any action at this time.

"I'd like to reassure people that the risk to the general public remains low and Cornwall Council is working with health colleagues to do everything we can to stop the virus spreading and ensure the people of Cornwall are protected.

"If you have not been contacted by Public Health England as a close contact of the confirmed case you do not need to take any action at this time.

"Good hygiene is the best prevention and there are some simple steps you can take to protect you and your family by washing your hands regularly and thoroughly and if you cough, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue.

"If you have recently been to one of the affected areas and are feeling unwell, you should use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service or call NHS 111 for further advice straight away - please don't go to your doctor or a hospital. There's lots of advice on how people can protect themselves online".

Deputy Director of Public Health at Cornwall Council, Steve Brown

What is the ongoing advice to stop the spread?

The main advice to stop the spread of coronavirus is still to wash your hands regularly.

Wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds each time with soap and water, or use hand sanitiser.

  • Wash your hands when you: 
  • Get home or into work
  • Blow your nose, sneeze or cough
  • Eat or handle food

Advice on the NHS website says the symptoms of coronavirus, known as COVID-19, are the following:

  • A cough
  • A high temperature
  • Shortness of breath
  • However, the above symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness.
  • The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.

The NHS says it is not yet known exactly how coronavirus is spread from person to person, mainly down to the fact of how new it is.

However, viruses of a similar nature are often spread via small droplets from coughing.

NHS advice says: "It's very unlikely it can be spread through things like packages or food.

"Viruses like coronavirus cannot live outside the body for very long".


You can read all the NHS advice on coronavirus here.

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