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Ambulance service restricts building access over coronavirus fears

PUBLISHED: 14:57 18 February 2020 | UPDATED: 16:58 27 February 2020

The East of England Ambulance Service has told staff to restrict access to its buildings. Photo: Archant

The East of England Ambulance Service has told staff to restrict access to its buildings. Photo: Archant

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2009

The region’s ambulance service has restricted access to its buildings because of coronavirus.

A medical worker records down a patient's condition at Jinyintan Hospital designated for new coronavirus infected patients, in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province. Photo: Chinatopix via APA medical worker records down a patient's condition at Jinyintan Hospital designated for new coronavirus infected patients, in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province. Photo: Chinatopix via AP

The virus outbreak, which began in China in December 2019, has infected more than 72,000 people across the globe.

As of Monday afternoon, 4,501 people had been tested for coronavirus in the UK, of which nine have come back positive.

The East of England Ambulance Trust (EEAST) told staff on Monday that it was taking steps to reduce the risk of the virus.

The internal message read: "We have reviewed the risk associated with coronavirus and have identified it is appropriate to restrict access to ambulance placements, ambulance stations and control rooms.

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"This is a proactive step in response to a risk review and not in response to a specific issue or concern."

From Monday at 7am they said the access was restricted to "essential visitors only".

A spokesman added: "Restricting access to emergency operations centres and some other crew areas to essential staff only is a routine precaution often put in place during the winter flu season to protect staff wellbeing and ensure resilience."

They said they would review that restriction every 48 hours.

Public Health England has also published guidance to schools telling them there is no need for children to stay off if staff, pupils or family members are undergoing testing for coronavirus.

NHS England says the risk to individuals remains low.

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