Open access article
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has made this article free to access in order to help healthcare professionals stay informed about an issue of national importance.
To learn more about coronavirus, please visit: https://www.rpharms.com/resources/pharmacy-guides/wuhan-novel-coronavirus
Source: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire/PA Images
A LloydsPharmacy branch has reopened after undergoing a deep clean following a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the building.
The County Oak Medical Centre in Brighton, East Sussex, which includes one pharmacy and two GP practices, was closed on 10 February 2020 after a GP was confirmed to have been infected with the virus.
Local NHS teams advised the pharmacy to close, with signs put up saying the medical centre was closed “for extensive cleaning as a precautionary measure”.
In a statement, LloydsPharmacy said: “All equipment and surfaces have now been thoroughly cleaned and patients can access the pharmacy as normal.
“The protection of our patients and pharmacy team is, and always will be, our top priority.”
Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group said in a statement that Public Health England (PHE) was carrying out a risk assessment to trace the GP’s movements over the previous two weeks.
“PHE is prioritising contacting people who might have had close and sustained contact with the individual as a precaution to provide them with health advice about any symptoms in case they become unwell,” the statement said, adding that these people are being advised to “self-isolate” and that contact “does not mean they are ill”.
Trish Mannes, deputy director for health protection at PHE South East, said it was “working very closely with Brighton and Hove City Council and the NHS to ensure local people are not at risk”.
The closure comes as the government announced new powers on 10 February 2020
The regulations allow “for a police constable to detain an individual [suspected of having the virus] and enforce those restrictions as required”.
Under The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020, which applies to England only, people can be forced to undergo screening and isolation “where the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care or a registered public health consultant have reasonable grounds to suspect that the individual is, or may be, contaminated with the coronavirus”.
The regulation “also includes provision for police constables to detain individuals where they have reasonable grounds to believe an individual is, or may be, infected or contaminated with coronavirus and are posing a risk to others”.
As of 11 February 2020, UK government figures report that 1,358 people have been tested with 8 people in England confirmed to have the virus.