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Angel GP surgery is closed in coronavirus scare

Patient showing symptoms similar to those in outbreak was put into an isolated room before being ­taken to hospital

14 February, 2020 — By Calum Fraser and Sam Ferguson

The Ritchie Street GP surgery, in Angel, was closed yesterday

PATIENTS were sent into a panic yesterday (Thursday) when a GP surgery was closed by a coronavirus scare.

The Ritchie Street Group Practice, in Angel, posted a message across its website during the morning which said: “Announcement! Practice is closed until 14/02/2020 due to coronavirus.”

Worried patients scoured the internet for answers but Public Health England (PHE), NHS England, the practice and Islington Clinical Commissioning Group all fell silent.

The Tribune understands a patient showed up at the Ritchie Street practice, just off Liverpool Road, with symptoms similar to those affected by the Wuhan coronavirus, which include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

The person was put into an isolated room before being ­taken to hospital.

It is understood that the surgery is being cleaned as a “precautionary measure”.

Nina Simone, who is a patient at the surgery, told the Tribune: “They have handled this all wrong. There should have been real-time information, with guidelines for people that rely on the surgery. The elderly must be very scared.”

It is not yet known whether the person who was quarantined has contracted the virus.

Coronavirus is “spread by respiratory droplets or aerosol transmission, in addition to contact routes of transmission”, according to PHE.

Ms Simone added: “We called the surgery as we had concerns, and they did confirm that only patients that had been in the surgery today need to be concerned.

“My mother explained that herself and my asthmatic daughter were in the surgery on Tuesday.

“They gave us the impression that someone with symptoms came in this morning. We mentioned that my mum has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and my daughter is asthmatic and that my daughter had been diagnosed on Tuesday with a respiratory virus.”

Dr Edward Wynne-Evans, a consultant at Public Health England, said: “We’re aware that a GP surgery in Islington has closed temporarily in relation to a suspected case of coronavirus.

“This would be a routine precautionary measure to enable cleaning to be carried out.

“Our advice is that there is currently no cause for concern and Islington residents should make no change to their normal daily lives.

“If the situation changes then we will issue further advice.”

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