Coronavirus latest: NHS declares highest level of emergency


LONDON: The number of people diagnosed with the coronavirus in the UK has risen to 51 (by Wednesday 4th February), the UK’s chief medical officer said that roughly 1 per cent of people who contract the virus in the UK could die, and the Government published a 28-page “battle plan” setting out its coronavirus strategy. The NHS declared coronavirus a level 4 incident – its highest level of emergency

NHS hospital will be told to “postpone anything postponable”.  Health Editor Laura Donnelly writes for Telegraph:  In the event of a major outbreak of coronavirus routine operations would be cancelled, other treatments rationed and patients sent home from hospital early, in a bid to free wards for the most high priority cases. 

Health chiefs have now declared the highest state of NHS emergency, as they ramp up efforts to cope with the crisis. 

All intensive care units have been ordered to carry out urgent checks to see if cases are already among their patients – amid concerns the virus could already be present, and spreading among the most vulnerable. 

A letter to NHS trust chief executives, seen by The Telegraph, warns them that if the outbreaks spreads, all wards may have to be used to treat victims, who are currently treated in isolation. Read more in our detailed round-up of the Government’s coronavirus action plan.

NHS England declares coronavirus a Level 4 incident

The NHS has declared the coronavirus outbreak as its highest level of emergency. Boots limits hand sanitiser sales to two per person.

The coronavirus outbreak has led pharmacy chains to limit the sale of hand sanitiser amid concerns products could be sold for inflated prices online, the Press Association reports.

A spokeswoman for Boots, the UK’s largest chemist chain, said it had seen an increase in the sale of hand sanitisers, but it still had stock available in its warehouses for online sale and in stores. She also confirmed that there is currently a limit of two hand sanitisers per customer to ensure as many people as possible have access to the products.

A source told the PA news agency that Boots is concerned some of its products could be re-sold online. The company has seen protective products of the kind it sells, for example face masks, appear on websites such as Amazon at prices far greater than those retailed by Boots.

Sales of hand sanitiser in supermarkets more than tripled last month as worried customers flocked to protect themselves from coronavirus and it seems some have sought to profit from the situation.

On the Boots website, 250ml bottles of Carex hand wash can be bought for £1 each, while packs of six of the product are being advertised for in excess of £16 on Amazon.

A 100ml bottle of Cuticura hand gel is sold for £1.55 by Boots online, while on Amazon sellers are trying to fetch prices of £10 for a 50ml bottle.

Routine hospital appointments may be postponedRoutine hospital appointments and surgeries may be postponed if Covid-19 infects large numbers of people, health officials in Northern Ireland said today.

An NHS statement said: “The health and social care system is also planning for the possibility of reduced staffing in hospitals and the community as a result of coronavirus in order to mitigate against these risks.

“Depending on the pressures in the system in the months ahead, trusts (which provide health services) may have to consider postponing routine elective appointments and surgeries to focus on the immediate demands associated with coronavirus.”

In response to the novel coronavirus outbreak potentially infecting more people in Northern Ireland, wards could be set aside and more critical care beds added to the 100 already available.

Drive-through screening, establishment of special pods separate from emergency departments and home testing kits may also be needed if the virus spreads widely through the community, officials said.