31 January 2020

Statement on Wuhan Novel Coronavirus

The Royal College of GPs has updated its statement on Wuhan Novel Coronavirus

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "We're closely monitoring updates from relevant authorities, such as Public Health England (PHE) and equivalent organisations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

"In light of the World Health Organization declaring a global emergency, the current threat to the UK is now considered moderate, and two cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the UK. However, NHS England and PHE are assuring patients that there are robust arrangements in place to manage the situation.

"Patients should not be alarmed as it is still more likely that anyone with flu-like symptoms will have the flu.

"It is vital that any patient who thinks they may have symptoms does not try to attend a GP appointment or hospital emergency departments in person and instead stay at home and call NHS 111, advising the call handler if they have recently travelled to Wuhan, China.
"Should a patient arrive at a GP surgery with potential symptoms and who has recently travelled to an affected area, GPs should place them in isolation, where possible. Current PHE guidelines  should then be followed.

"The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is currently advising against all travel to Hubei province in China, and all but essential travel to mainland China. It is also recommending that anybody who has returned from Wuhan, China in the last 14 days stays indoors and avoids contact with other people where possible – and that they advise health authorities of their situation by calling NHS 111."

Further Information
BJGP Open article: The coronavirus outbreak - the central role of primary care in emergency preparedness and response
RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7494/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 53,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.