Coronavirus: First case is diagnosed in Shropshire

Read the latest as Shropshire's first coronavirus case is confirmed, a health minister tests positive for the virus and interest rates are cut ahead of the budget.

The first Shropshire case of coronavirus has been confirmed.

The patient has recently travelled back to England from Italy, Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group's board was told.

Meanwhile Health Minister Nadine Dorries has become the first MP to be diagnosed with the illness, the Bank of England has cut its main interest rate to 0.25 per cent from 0.75 per cent and the number of cases in the UK has risen to 382.

It comes as Shropshire Community NHS Trust said it was carrying out home and community testing and was setting up ‘drive-through’ testing centres across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

CCG corporate affairs director Sam Tilley said: "This is not a cause for panic. We need to respond to this calmly and rationally. We will come out of this the other side.

CORONAVIRUS: Key developments:

  • 53-year-old British woman in Indonesia becomes the seventh British person to die after contracting coronavirus.

  • Total number of UK coronavirus patients now at 382.

  • 147 people had been tested for coronavirus in Shropshire as of Tuesday.

  • One patient has died in Wolverhampton, while four other others in Wolverhampton and one in Dudley have tested positive, plus four in Staffordshire and one in Birmingham.

  • Wales confirmed a further nine positive diagnoses on Tuesday evening, taking the country’s total to 15, while 10 new cases were confirmed in Ireland.

  • A sixth UK patient has died after testing positive for coronavirus. The man was in his early 80s and had underlying health conditions, said West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust.

  • Some air passengers have complained of being stranded in Italy after airlines including British Airways and Ryanair cancelled flights to and from Italy.

  • The start of the UK peak of the coronavirus epidemic expected within a fortnight, with “many thousands of people” contracting the virus.

Katie Spence, deputy director, health protection for Public Health England in the West Midlands, said: “Public Health England is contacting people who had close contact with one of the latest confirmed cases of Covid-19.

"The case is a resident within Shropshire Council local authority area who became infected whilst travelling in Italy.

"Close contacts will be given health advice about symptoms and emergency contact details to use if they become unwell in the 14 days after contact with the confirmed case. This tried and tested method will ensure we are able to minimise any risk to them and the wider public.

“We will not be commenting further on the details of this particular case due to need to protect patient confidentiality.”

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“I’d like to reassure people that the risk to the general public remains low and Shropshire Council is working with health colleagues to do everything we can to stop the virus spreading and ensure the people of Shropshire are protected.

“The patient was tested in the community and is self-isolating. Public Health England (PHE) are identifying and speaking to those who have been in close contact with the individual and will follow up with any appropriate action.

“We have been and continue to work closely with our PHE and NHS partners to do everything we can to help prevent the spread of the virus.

"Good hygiene is the best prevention and there are some simple steps you can take to protect you and your family by washing your hands regularly and thoroughly and if you cough, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue.

“If you have recently been to one of the affected areas and are feeling unwell, you should phone the NHS 111 helpline for further advice straight away – please don’t go to your doctor or a hospital. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.”

David Evans, the chief officer for both the county’s Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “I’m as confident as I can be that we have the right resource and the right infrastructure in place to deal with the situation.

“However, it is changing on an almost hourly, certainly daily, basis, and we will continue to review the emergency preparedness plans.”

Shropshire Council said it had been working closely with Telford & Wrekin Council, Public Health England, NHS England and local health and care partners, to prepare and respond to coronavirus.

"All partners continue to work together to co-ordinate appropriate action and resources to protect the public’s health," it said.

"Partners and services are working closely to support each other, to ensure organisations have the capacity to respond to Covid-19 whilst still being able to provide essential everyday services. This includes the setting up of Shropshire Local Health Resilience Partnership (LHRP) to co-ordinate plans and prepare for any changes in the situation, should they arise.

"All partners keep in regular contact and take part in daily and weekly update meetings with both local, regional and national colleagues."

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