Two weeks on from the first College blog and a significant amount of news has happened – here is a brief update from Jane Chiodini, Dean of our Faculty of Travel Medicine.
• The World Health Organization has now renamed the disease ‘coronavirus disease 2019’ or ‘COVID-19’ for short. The virus causing COVID-19 has been named ‘severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2’ or SARS-COV-2 for short. Details for how new diseases are named can be found here.
• It was initially thought that numbers in China were starting to stabilise but a new broader definition to diagnose people was introduced in Hubei on the 12th February where they experienced 242 deaths from the disease and a great increase in cases (14,840) due to this change of definition.
• The latest figures from the WHO situation report no. 24 on 13th February indicate there are 46,997 confirmed cases globally with 46,550 of these in China with 447 confirmed cases outside China in 24 countries with one death. This report doesn’t provide the death toll in China but for the previous day in report no. 23 there were a total of 1114 deaths.
• Surveillance and preparedness plans, case management and increasing public awareness messages are underway in individual countries around the world.
• As at 13th February the UK has tested 2,521 people and 9 cases have been positive, with one individual who attended a conference in Singapore subsequently transmitting the disease in 11 confirmed cases.
• The threat level assessed by Public Health England continues to be at moderate, however on Monday 10th February the Department of Health in England announced the incidence or transmission of novel coronavirus constituted a serious and imminent threat to public health. This announcement was infact a legal term to strengthen regulations, ensuring individuals were kept in isolation for their own safety, and preventing spread of the virus to other members of the public.
• Workload has been significant in Emergency Medicine Departments but testing is also being trialled out in community settings. Health Officials are working long hours to plan and prepare. The situation is changing daily but it is important to keep a perspective and trust the UK is very well prepared to cope at the present time. Numerous guidance pages for health professionals can be found here.
• Advice for the general public in relation to measures that can be taken to reduce risk of this and any respiratory type disease were detailed in our previous blog, but there are now many infographic tools available to help communicate the messages. Two helpful pages from PHE to support information for our patients include Coronavirus – what you need to know and Guidance to assist professionals in advising the general public.
• Continue to follow the College Daily Media Updates on email and the WhatsApp feed
• WHO Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak resources (including daily situation reports)
• WHO Global research on novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
• The Lancet COVID-19 resources centre
• The BMJ Coronavurus: latest news and resources
• Public Health England: Collection of guidance for health professionals
• Health Protection Scotland resources and guidance
• Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease: Novel Coronaviruses and travel health
• For children – BBC Newsround video clip: Coronavirus: Why it might not be as scary as it sounds
RCPSG are involved in the regular Academy of Medical Royal Colleges briefings with the Chief Medical Officer for England and will continue to provide you with updates as the situation evolves, but in the meantime make sure you tune into our news items on the College Daily Media Updates on email and the WhatsApp feed.