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Health boss reassurance on Norfolk coronavirus containment plan

PUBLISHED: 18:53 06 March 2020 | UPDATED: 18:54 06 March 2020

Dr Louise Smith said to stopping coronavirus transmission through children would need to close schools for quite a long time. Picture: Norfolk County Council

Dr Louise Smith said to stopping coronavirus transmission through children would need to close schools for quite a long time. Picture: Norfolk County Council

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Officials in Norfolk have begun planning for a facility to help with self-isolation should there be cases of coronavirus in the county.

Dr Louise Smith, of Public Health England, has spoken about the ongoing measures authorities in Norfolk are preparing in the case of the virus in the county.

Among them are plans for a space in Norfolk similar to Arrowe Park in Liverpool which acted as a base for people who travelled back from Wuhan in China.

Read more: Three more cases of coronavirus in east of England

Dr Smith said the building would be used for those who did not have access to accommodation to self-isolate, such as tourists or refugees.

Since the outbreak of the virus, there have been no confirmed cases in Norfolk.

Dr Smith said: "If they do come up positive we talk to the person who has had the positive test and take a really detailed history of everybody they have been in contact with then go out and find these people.

"If you have been in contact with somebody who is positive PHE contact tracing will lead them to get in touch with you."

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She reiterated national advice and reassurances for groups considered at higher risk including the elderly, those with underlying health conditions or frailty.

Read more: Coronavirus in Norfolk: Expert shares 'simple but effective' advice

The health organisation has released a guide of five things people can do to protect themselves including being prepared to self-isolate.

Dr Smith said: "Think about how you would organise things if that happened, think about not getting bored or isolated have lots of phone numbers.

"Do you have friends, family or neighbours that might need a little bit of extra help?"

Dr Smith said authorities will take the lead from national advice before making a significant decision including "social distancing" - measures which could include not going to cinemas, pubs or sporting events.

She said: "If we are looking at making a significant decision here we take into account our local circumstances. We are still in the containment stage.

"If it is in a particular part, in a particular location or school we will liaise with the head of the school and have a localised decision."

She praised NHS teams in the area for quick reactions following the first confirmed cases in the country.

Read more: Norwich college says its following guidance after students return from Italy

People can be tested by being directed to a pod, making an appointment to be swabbed from their car, or home tested.

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