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Public Health Wales statement on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

Written by on 23rd March 2020

Dr Giri Shankar, Incident Director for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak response at Public Health Wales, said:

“71 new cases have tested positive for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 418, although the true number of cases is likely to be higher.  Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is now circulating in every part of Wales.

“Four further deaths of individuals who have tested positive for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) have been reported to us, taking the number of deaths in Wales to 16. 

“We offer our condolences to the family and friends affected, and we ask those reporting on the situation to respect patient confidentiality.

“Starting today, the Welsh Government will be writing to all GPs and vulnerable individuals in Wales with the details of the shielding guidance published.

“Members of the public should continue to follow the latest public health advice on social isolation if they have symptoms of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, however mild, and the social distancing guidance to reduce the risk of transmission.”

The latest guidance is:

·         People who live with others:

o   If you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must stay at home for seven days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.

o   For anyone else in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for seven days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period.

·         People who live alone:  if you have symptoms of coronavirus, however mild, stay at home for seven days.

·         Everyone, including children, should avoid non-essential contact with others and unnecessary travel

·         Everyone is being asked to work from home where they possibly can, and avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and social venues

·         People over 70, and vulnerable groups of any age are now asked to be shielded from social contact for several weeks

People who are self-isolating, or in a household with someone who is self-isolating, should read the full stay-at-home guidance.

For the guidance in full, visit the Department of Health and Social Care website: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response 

Dr Shankar said: “People no longer need to contact NHS 111 if they think they may have contracted Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).  Advice about the virus is available on the Public Health Wales website phw.nhs.wales/coronavirus

“Symptoms include: a high temperature, where you feel hot to touch on your chest or back; and a new, continuous cough. This means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours. If you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual.

“Anyone with a suspected coronavirus illness should not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. They should only contact NHS 111 if they feel they cannot cope with their symptoms at home, their condition gets worse, or their symptoms do not get better after seven days.

“Only call 999 if you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, do not call 999 just because you are on-hold to 111.  We appreciate that 111 lines are busy, but you will get through after a wait.

“The public play a very important role in slowing the spread of infection. By following the latest advice, you will protect yourself, protect the most vulnerable and help to reduce the pressure on NHS Wales and minimise the impact of the virus.”

Health boardCumulative cases
To be confirmed1
Resident outside Wales3
Swansea Bay47
Aneurin Bevan220
Betsi Cadwaladr15
Cardiff and Vale84
Cwm Taf21
Hywel Dda16
Powys11
Wales418

END

CONTACT:   For media enquiries please contact the Public Health Wales Communications team on 02920 348755 (24 hours)