HomeWorld NewsNHS sets up London coronavirus testing centre as UK cases rise to 53
NHS sets up London coronavirus testing centre as UK cases rise to 53
The one-stop swab shop: NHS sets up drive-thru coronavirus test centre in bid to keep infected Londoners away from hospitals – as UK cases rise to 53
Potential coronavirus patients are being tested at drive-thru centres in London
Test centre opened at Parsons Green where people can be checked in their cars
Nurses swabbing patients’ noses and mouth through rolled-down car windows
If successful, the London scheme will be rolled out across the rest of the UK
Potential coronavirus patients are being tested at drive-thru centres in London today as part of a city-wide bid to stop the infection from spreading at hospitals.
A test centre has opened at Parsons Green, west London, where people who believe they have contracted Covid-19 can be checked while still sat in their own cars.
Photos taken today show brave nurses donning face masks and protective glasses while swabbing patients in their nose and mouth through an open car window.
The Central London Community Healthcare NHS trust launched the scheme this week. If successful, it will be rolled out more widely across England.
A similar scheme will soon be rolled out in Northern Ireland, where nurses were seen practicing the procedure at Antrim Area Hospital in Co Antrim this morning.
Only patients referred by NHS 111 are currently being sent to the drive thru service, with potential patients thought to be seriously ill excluded.
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Photos taken today show brave nurses donning face masks and protective glasses while swabbing patients in their nose and mouth through an open car window in London
A similar scheme will soon be rolled out in Northern Ireland, where nurses were seen practicing the procedure at Antrim Area Hospital in Co Antrim this morning
Potential coronavirus patients are tested at a drive-thru centre in London today as part of a city-wide bid to stop the infection from spreading at hospitals
A test centre has opened at Parsons Green, west London, where people who believe they have contracted Covid-19 can be checked while still sat in their own cars
Those who undergo a drive-thru test are asked to go home and self-isolate while the test results are checked over the next 72 hours.
It comes as the UK’s chief medical officer said the infection would kill some Britons, with an epidemic on UK soil is now ‘highly likely’.
Professor Chris Whitty’s message for Britain’s 66 million residents came as the total number of UK cases rose to 53 today after two patients in Scotland tested positive.
Boris Johnson admitted yesterday that people’s lives may have to be put on hold for up to three months to fight the deadly coronavirus
In the worst case scenario, schools could be shut, millions could be forced to work from home and people could be asked to stop eating out or shopping.
And he said that protective masks would do little good for the people donning them on the London Underground, in the streets and in airports.
Those who undergo a drive-thru test are asked to go home and self-isolate while the test results are checked over the next 72 hours
People with face masks walk across the concourse at London Victoria train station yesterday
‘If people have got an infection and are being moved around a hospital then wearing masks is a good thing to do but for people just walking the streets it’s not going to have a significant effect,’ he said.
Piers Morgan pointed out that those who are wearing the ineffective items might also leave fewer masks available for the NHS.
It comes after the news that a breath test that instantly spots patients with coronavirus has been developed by British scientists.
They say the technology could be used to rapidly screen people in airports. And it could also be used in GP surgeries, pharmacies or ambulances, giving an instant result.
The technology, developed by a team at Northumbria University in Newcastle, needs further testing but experts believe it could be quickly change the way the virus is spotted around the world.
The Government is launching a renewed public information campaign urging people to wash their hands to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Adverts will seek to drive home the message that regular hand-washing is the single most important action individuals can take in the fight against Covid-19.
A lone commuter wears a face mask as he crosses London Bridge in the capital this morning
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, flanked by the chief medical officer for England, Chris Whitty (left) and the chief scientific officer, Sir Patrick Vallance (right), launched Government’s coronavirus action plan at Downing Street yesterday
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) posted a picture of him washing his hands to his Instagram page yesterday with the caption: ‘I fully understand the public’s concerns about the global spread of coronavirus, and it is likely to become more significant in the coming weeks’
Professor Whitty’s comments come after the NHS yesterday announced it had hiked its threat level to the highest possible ‘national incident’ after 12 more British patients tested positive for the infection.
Health chiefs have declared the epidemic a ‘level four incident’, which grants them emergency powers to take control of local hospitals.
Coronavirus was ratcheted up to level four status in January, but the move was only confirmed yesterday as the government tried to calm public concern by unveiling a four-pronged strategy to tackle the growing crisis.
The government’s battle plan has been divided into four stages – ‘Contain’, ‘delay’, ‘research’ and ‘mitigate’
Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a press conference yesterday with Professor Whitty and the government’s chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance, to launch the official action plan.
Troops could be deployed on the streets, infected patients who are not suffering from complications could be sent home from hospital, and non-urgent NHS operations could be cancelled to free up space in overwhelmed hospitals.
The PM also revealed schools could be shut and children allowed to do coursework and sit exams from their home to stop the spread. But he maintained that this would only be worst-case scenario and said schools should not close unless instructed to by Public Health England.
Mr Johnson said the government would take all ‘necessary and reasonable steps’ to contain the coronavirus, but appealed for the public to keep ‘going about our business as usual’.
He said: ‘I do think that this is a national challenge. The potential is there for this to be something that our country has to get through.
‘But I have absolutely no doubt that we have the resources, we have the health service to get through it.’
The 28-page ‘action plan’ was agreed at the first emergency Cobra meeting to be chaired by the PM on Monday.
The report stresses the response is still in the ‘containment’ phase, and explained there are four stages – contain, delay, research and mitigate.
A man wears a medical mask on a street in London yesterday as more patients in the UK tested positive for coronavirus today
A woman wears a mask as a precaution against coronavirus on a street in London yesterday
But experts fear they will have to shift to ‘delay’ tactics – effectively damage limitation – within days or weeks amid growing outbreaks across Europe.
More than 2,500 people have now been diagnosed in Italy, which is in the grip of the second worst outbreak outside of China, and hundreds of patients have been discovered in Germany and France.
Poland today declared its first case of the coronavirus, following Ukraine yesterday.
The only European countries without infections are now Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Albania, Bulgaria, Modlova, Turkey and Cyprus.
The Government’s action plan states that the ‘vast majority’ of cases will have only mild-to-moderate effects on individuals, but points out that the virus is highly infectious.
‘As it is a new virus, the lack of immunity in the population (and the absence as yet of an effective vaccine) means that Covid 19 has the potential to spread extensively,’ the document says.
A stone’s throw from Number 10, two people wear protective face masks in London’s Parliament Square amid concerns of a British outbreak
‘The current data seems to show that we are all susceptible to catching this disease, and thus it seems more likely than not that the UK will be significantly affected.’
‘The potential is there for this to be something that our country has to get through. But I have absolutely no doubt that we have the resources, we have the health service to get through it.’
The plan said that in the event of mass infections the Government ‘will aim to minimise the social and economic impact, subject to keeping people safe’.
There would be ‘population distancing strategies’ such as school closures, encouraging greater home working, and reducing the number of large scale gatherings to slow the spread of the disease.
Pensioners would be advised to stay away from events such as VE Day commemorations to avoid putting themselves at risk. However, experts say that an infected person is as likely to pass on the virus to 12 people in a pub as in a 70,000 seater stadium.
Police ‘would concentrate on responding to serious crimes and maintaining public order’ if forces suffer ‘a significant loss of officers and staff.’
Meanwhile, the armed forces could be called upon to ‘backfill’ gaps in emergency services and provide other assistance if required.
‘The Ministry of Defence has put in place plans to ensure the delivery of its operations in the UK and overseas. There are also well-practiced arrangements for Defence to support to civil authorities if requested,’ the document says.