As many as 30 doctors and other primary care workers in Brighton have been self-isolating against COVID-19 infection, it was reported last night.
The actions were taken because GPs and staff attended a local conference attended by a GP diagnosed with viral infection. Brighton was at the centre of a major scare after it emerged that a businessman Steve Walsh had unknowingly infected a number of people, including local doctors, after returning to China.
The extent of the measures in Brighton were revealed as the World Health Organisation issued its latest analysis, suggesting the virus is fatal in 2% of cases. The impact on local practices was reported in the Brighton and Hove News last night.
It quotes the local clinical commissioning group as saying: “There has been no further confirmed cases of covid-19 across Sussex for over a week and all doctors and other primary care health workers in Brighton and Hove who were advised to ‘self-isolate’ as a precaution are expected to be returning to work this week.”
An unnamed health official said the self-isolation seemed to have stopped spread of the virus, adding “I don’t want to speak too soon.”
WHO’s latest figures, published yesterday, suggest that outside China there have been just 3 deaths out of 794 confirmed cases of infection. Within China, the death rate amongst the 70,000 confirmed as infected has been about 2.5%.
Speaking yesterday WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the latest data seemed to show the number of new cases declining.
He went on: “It also appears that COVID-19 is not as deadly as other coronaviruses including SARS and MERS. More than 80% of patients have mild disease and will recover. In about 14% of cases, the virus causes severe disease, including pneumonia and shortness of breath.
“And about 5% of patients have critical disease including respiratory failure, septic shock and multi-organ failure. In 2% of reported cases, the virus is fatal and the risk of death increases the older you are. We see relatively few cases among children. More research is needed to understand why.”