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Channel Island authorities to meet and review coronavirus risk

Health authorities in Jersey and Guernsey are keeping a close eye on coronavirus and hope to reassure islanders that they are prepared. Credit: AP

Health authorities in Jersey and Guernsey are keeping a close eye on coronavirus and are reassuring islanders they are prepared.

Authorities in Jersey are going to meet again to review the risk of coronavirus to islanders, and Guernsey say they are in a good position to respond to any developments.

The news comes as four people in Scotland are being tested for suspected coronavirus after travelling to the country from Wuhan, China.

But what exactly is coronavirus, and does it pose a risk to people in the Channel Islands?

  • What is Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that range from a common cold right through to more severe diseases.

  • How has it spread?

On New Year's Eve the World Health Organisation was informed of pneumonia cases detected without cause in Wuhan City, China. Within a few days coronavirus had been detected and linked to a Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan City.

By 23 January 571 cases have been reported. 95 of these cases are severe and so far 17 people have died.

Most cases are in China, however 11 cases have been found elsewhere in Asia. One person has been diagnosed with the coronavirus in America.

People arriving from the region to UK airports are now being screened for the virus.

  • Am I at risk?

If you have visited the Wuhan region and develop flu like symptoms you should speak to a doctor and mention that you have traveled to the area.

  • Are the Channel Islands prepared?

Guernsey say they are in a ‘good position’ to respond to any developments.

In November 2019, Public Health Services, on behalf of the Committee for Health & Social Care, led a successful and well received exercise of the Channel Islands Strategic Pandemic Influenza Plan, bringing together multiple agencies to test the islands response to an influenza virus pandemic.

– Guernsey Public Health Services

Jersey say they are monitoring the situation closely.

Health and Community Services would like to inform islanders who may be concerned following reports in the national media about the new corona virus and reassure them that we are closely watching developments.

We are only some four weeks into the outbreak so information is still being gathered. However, the evidence to date shows that a direct and sometimes indirect link to Wuhan, China, is the most important risk factor for acquisition of the virus. A link could either be via someone visiting Wuhan within the last 14 days or being in contact with a known case within the last 14 days.

– Dr Ivan Muscat, Consultant Microbiologist

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