Brighton and Hove is open for business despite heightened concern about coronavirus, council leader Nancy Platts said this afternoon (Thursday 13 February).
Councillor Platts set out the latest position at a meeting of the council’s Policy and Resources Committee at Hove Town Hall.
She said: “Brighton and Hove continues to be very much open for business.
“The city remains a safe place to live, work and visit and we’re looking forward to welcoming people from all over the world this weekend.
“Unless the impact of Storm Dennis dictates otherwise, our venues and attractions will be open.”
Councillor Platts said: “There have been no new confirmed cases of coronavirus (now called Covid-19) across Sussex.
“The numbers of confirmed cases in the UK remains at nine, with five of those cases being connected to people from our city.
“This is a tough time for Brighton and Hove so I want to reassure people that the safety, welfare and wellbeing of everyone in our city is our primary concern.
“A constant dialogue is taking place with the relevant authorities – and the council is working in collaboration with and is being guided by, Public Health England and the NHS to ensure that we’re giving our communities the right advice.
“I understand that people feel anxious and they feel they need to have information about who is being tested and who has been asked to self-isolate.
“But we need to remember that the people involved have a right to privacy – and there are very important and necessary patient confidentiality guidelines that everyone must respect.
“Speculation is rife about Covid-19. Not everything you read in the media or on social media platforms is accurate.
“The release of trusted and accurate information will always be done initially by the chief medical officer. Further guidance will then be issued by Public Health England, the Department for Health and Social Care or the NHS. The local authority will always also support those messages.
“Since the five Covid-19 cases were confirmed as being from the Brighton and Hove area, Public Health England has carried out a thorough risk assessment and has traced the movements of the individuals.
“Public Health England has contacted people who might have had close and sustained contact with the individuals as a precaution to provide them with health advice about any symptoms in case they become unwell.
“These individuals have been advised to ‘self-isolate’ which means they should stay at home and avoid contact with other people as a precaution.
“It does not mean they are ill and people who have had contact with these individuals do not need to take action.
“On advice from the chief medical officer, the government has declared the risk as ‘moderate’ – a level which may sound alarming but it allows government to plan for all eventualities. Ultimately, that the risk to individuals remains ‘low’.
“People living across Sussex who have not been contacted by Public Health England are being advised they should go about their daily routine as usual.
“Our schools remain open as are the NHS services across Sussex. Measures are in place to ensure the safety of all patients and NHS staff while also ensuring services are available to the public as normal.”
This has happened while 11 or 12 family doctors in Brighton and Hove are in isolation or self-isolation – between 5 and 10 per cent of the local GP (general practitioner) workforce.
Councillor Platts added: “On behalf of the city council I would like to thank everyone who has been working so hard in response to the cases of coronavirus in Brighton and Hove, including local health professionals, Public Health England, Councillors and council staff.
“I would also like to wish anyone affected by coronavirus a full recovery.”
Councillor Platts reiterated the government’s “good hygiene” advice
- Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue and wash your hands or use a sanitiser gel. Effective sanitiser gel should have a 60 per cent alcohol content or higher.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel (see above) if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.