All NHS hospitals in England have been ordered to create secure areas for coronavirus testing to “avoid a surge in emergency departments”, according to a leaked NHS letter.
Hospitals have been told to create “coronavirus priority assessment pods”, where people will be checked for the virus, which will need to be decontaminated each time they are used.
The letter, seen by The Independent and dated 31 January, instructs all chief executives and medical directors to have the pods up and running no later than Friday 7 February.
It comes as the global death toll from the virus has reached 565 with around 28,000 infected.
One hospital chief executive told The Independent he believed the requirement was “an overreaction”, adding: “I think we should be sending teams out to swab in patients homes as the advice is to stay at home and self-manage as with any other flu".
In the letter, Professor Keith Willett, who is leading the NHS’s response to coronavirus, told NHS bosses: “Plans have been developed to avoid a surge in emergency departments due to coronavirus. “Although the risk level in this country remains moderate, and so far there have been only two confirmed cases, the NHS is putting in place appropriate measures to ensure business as usual services remain unaffected by any further cases or tests of coronavirus.”
Source: 5 February 2020
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