Islington GP surgery closed due to coronavirus – Evening Standard

An Islington GP surgery today posted a message on its website saying it was closed due to coronavirus

The Ritchie Street Health Centre is due to be closed until Friday, according to an alert on its website.

It read: “Practice is closed until 14/02/2019 due to coronavirus. 

“Any patients that have the symptoms should call 111 and not come into the practice.”

Bags of rubbish on the pavement outside the Ritchie Street Health Centre, Islington (PA)

The post was later removed from the website. The surgery confirmed it was closed but did not comment further. 

A sign on the entrance told patients it was closed “due to operational difficulties”.

A man wearing protective clothing could be seen cleaning surfaces in the patient waiting area. The Standard has contacted Islington Council and Islington Clinical Commissioning Group for comment. 

A man in protective gear inside the surgery (PA)

It comes after a London woman became the ninth person in the UK to test positive for the deadly virus, known specifically as Covid-19.

The woman, a Chinese national believed to be in her 20s or 30s, arrived at Heathrow at the weekend on a flight from China.

She self-presented after taking an Uber at A&E at University Hospital Lewisham on Sunday, before being admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital on Wednesday evening after tests proved positive.

Anyone found to have been in close contact with the woman will be asked to self-isolate for two weeks.

Ben Travi, chief executive of Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, said today: “Our colleagues in our emergency departments are following the latest advice and protocols from Public Health England. In this case, the patient self-presented at our A&E.

“As soon as the patient did this, the patient was given a mask and then escorted to be tested in the dedicated area we have assigned for coronavirus testing outside the A&E building – while awaiting the installation of a purpose-built ‘pod’.

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“As further assessment was required, the patient was then taken to a dedicated isolation room in the emergency department.

“In line with our protocols, throughout their care, the patient was escorted and did not come into contact with other patients. The patient was later discharged and taken home by London Ambulance Service.

“All staff who had direct contact with the patient have been contacted, including two members of staff who are undergoing active surveillance at home for a 14-day period as a precautionary measure – following the advice of Public Health England.”

Health experts have raised concerns that the virus could have been spread if she had used public transport, though Public Health England says it is only likely if there is “close and sustained contact” – being within two metres of someone with symptoms for 15 minutes.

The Government’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty warned today that an epidemic of coronavirus could be “rolling out way” if China fails to stop the spread of the deadly infection.

After Beijing raised the number of deaths and infections from the virus, he stressed that the figures were still not believed to be accurate and reliable.

Asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme about predictions that the virus could spread widely in the UK, he said: “Once we get to the point we have a serious fix (on the numbers), if it looks as if there is an epidemic rolling our way, which is possible, I will be delighted to come back to this programme and talk through with real numbers.”

Mr Whitty said the Government’s strategy was focused on containment of identified cases, delay, science and research, and mitigating the impact of any spread.

He said: “Delay is the next stage of what we need to do because if we are going to get an outbreak in the UK — this is an if, not a when — putting it back in time into the summer period, away from winter pressures on the NHS, buying us a bit more time to understand the virus better… is a big advantage.”

It is not known whether the virus, which is spread by droplets from coughing or sneezing, can survive on door handles or grab poles on buses or Tubes.

Mr Whitty also emphasised that the vast majority of people, possibly 98 per cent or more, recover from the new strain of coronavirus.

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