A local father has been diagnosed with coronavirus in Brighton.
England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty confirmed a third UK case of the contagious virus had been diagnosed this lunchtime.
He said the person did not contract the virus in the UK or China, but another country in Asia.
Hove MP Peter Kyle this evening said NHS bosses were proactively contacting people and places the patient – a local father – had been in contact with.
And the patient’s family had no symptoms, but were now spending time together “in a secluded place”.
Mr Kyle said: “There’s a lot or rumours going around so let me update you on the facts.
“A man living locally has been confirmed as having contacted Coronavirus. This was contracted outside of the UK, in Asia, not locally.
“The second he observed symptoms our NHS leapt into action and he has been moved to a specialised isolation unit near London which is designed for situations like this.
“His family have not exhibited signs and are not suspected of having contracted the virus but because of their shock at developments and eagerness to be especially cautious they are spending some time together in a more secluded place.
“This is an act of kindness to reassure us all and I, for one, am very grateful to them for their thoughtfulness.
“Today I have been in touch with the bosses of our local health service, the leader of our council, and ministers in the Department of Health. All of them are very well informed, very well prepared, and working openheartedly to make sure the spread of Coronavirus is minimised.
“The places visited by the family and people who they’ve been in touch with since this happened are all being proactively contacted by authorities and if people are concerned they’re getting the care, tests, and support they need.
“I’ve already seen quite a bit of rumour and conjecture on social media, a lot of it is way off base, so please don’t worry unnecessarily and please don’t believe everything you read on social media (except from me obviously!)”
The Guardian says the person was diagnosed in Brighton, and has now been transferred to a London hospital for treatment.
Just yesterday, Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) chief nursing officer Allison Cannon told medics that no cases have been reported in Brighton and Hove but family doctors are keeping watch for symptoms and any sign of the virus spreading.
Last month, the University of Sussex, which has many students from China and other affected countries, said it was closely monitoring the situation with Coronavirus.
Today, a University of Sussex spokesperson said: “We are very sorry to hear that a third person is now receiving treatment for Coronavirus and we wish them a full and swift recovery.
“This person is not a student or member of staff at the University of Sussex. We would like to offer our full support to our neighbours across the city.”
A University of Brighton spokesman said: “The individual concerned is not connected to the University of Brighton. We will continue to advise our students and staff to follow the current guidance from Public Health England.”
Mr Kyle added: “Here’s what you need to know. Coronavirus is not as easily transmitted as things like flu so there’s a really easy way to eliminate almost all risk of either spreading it or contracting it – when you sneeze, use a tissue.
“If you don’t have a tissue then sneeze into your arm or elbow. And then wash your hands thoroughly as soon as you can.
“We’re really lucky to have our NHS. One nationwide organisation that can respond to challenges like this in a jointed up and scaled-up way. Few countries have the protection we have.
“We all need to do our bit too, but all around us is an organisation hard at work and I’m doing my bit on your behalf to make sure it’s operating in all of our best interests.
“There’s one final thing I’ve done today. I’ve asked those who are in touch with the family to let them know they are in my thoughts, that I’m here as their MP so support them in any way I can, but also to pass on the very best wishes of our whole community.
“I’ve now met many people who have found themselves suddenly at the centre of a national event and it can be terrifying for them.
“We as a community must always be sensitive to that and we owe it to them not to listen to people who spread rumours as it can make them feel hurt and unwelcome.
“What I want right now is for the family to be reunited with their dad once he’s fully recovered and for them to jump back into life here in our community. I really do wish them well in this difficult time.”
As of 5 February, a total of 566 UK tests have concluded, of which 563 were confirmed negative and 3 positive.
Coronavirus causes respiratory infection and for most people it may be no more serious than a common cold.
But the latest outbreak of the virus, also known as novel coronavirus, can be lethal as were previous mutations known as SARS and MERS.
The CCG’s website advises people to use tissues, bin them and wash hands with soap and water.
Novel coronavirus information can be found on the CCG website at www.brightonandhoveccg.nhs.uk/novel-coronavirus-what-you-need-know.