From Jane Chiodini, Dean of the Faculty of Travel Medicine.
As March approaches who would have predicted that such significant changes would have dominated the world news in the first two months of 2020. Developments around coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 escalate. It’s hard to appreciate that since my last blog just two weeks ago, news headlines such as the Princess Diamond cruise ship quarantined in Japan with eventual numbers of over 690 cases on board have been overtaken by reports of serious outbreaks in Northern Italy; worrying details about the situation in Iran; large sporting events being cancelled around the world; Saudi Arabia announcing the temporary suspension of visits to the Kingdom for religious purpose including Umrah, and whilst it is too early to decide right now, the status of the Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo in less than five months quite uncertain. It’s no wonder the stock market is in turmoil.
The latest figures from the WHO daily report no. 38 stated that as of 27th February there have been 82,294 global cases with 2804 deaths. But this week for the first time there have been more new cases reported from countries outside China than within. Just yesterday, nine new Member States with reported cases brought the total number of cases outside China to 46 and the day before it was reported on Algeria being the first Member State of the WHO AFRO Region to report a case of COVID-19.
In the UK we’ve had 16 cases identified but all connected with cases from abroad. Some of you who are front line healthcare professionals will be having your mask fit testing performed and will be aware of the preparedness measures taking place, but the clear message from Government at the current time is a four part plan:
The most important measures the public can adopt are methods that are known to reduce risk, to adopt good hand hygiene at all times and if coughing or sneezing to do so into a tissue and bin it. Many resources are now available to illustrate these behaviours and a public information campaign is soon to be rolled out.
The College posted a COVID-19 update last night https://rcpsg.ac.uk/covid-19-update-27-february-2020 reassuring us that the organisation is closely monitoring the situation with clinical volunteers, examination candidates, event delegates and staff to ensure action is taken as and when required.
In the meantime, I refer you to the previous blogs on 31.01.20 and 14.02.20 for many resources but here are some new and very interesting ones.
- BMJ Best Practice guidance COVID-19 at https://bestpractice.bmj.com/topics/en-gb/3000168/pdf/3000168/COVID-19.pdf
- Royal College of Physicians COVID-19: An expert update for doctors at https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/news/covid-19-expert-update-doctors
- London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene eLearning course COVID-19: Tackling the Novel Coronavirus https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/covid19-novel-coronavirus
- World Health Organization: Emerging respiratory viruses, including COVID-19: methods for detection, prevention, response and control https://openwho.org/courses/introduction-to-ncov
- CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019 resources https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- NHS page designed to help clinicians- doctors, nurses, dentists, opticians and other healthcare colleagues – deal with coronavirus (COVID-19) https://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/eprr/coronavirus/
A few useful resources for patients
- Public Health Matters Q&A webpage. Coronavirus – what you need to know https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/
- NHS Overview Coronavirus (COVID-19) https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
- NHS resource: How to wash your hands https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/best-way-to-wash-your-hands/ and PHE Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/101-coronavirus-/resources
- PHE Guidance for COVID-19: Advice sheet for home isolation PHE Guidance for COVID-19: Advice sheet for home isolation and similar resources here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-self-isolation-for-patients-undergoing-testing
- CDC collection of handwashing posters including some for children at https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/posters.html
Previous updates from the College: