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Coronavirus: Northern Ireland hospital was on 'lockdown' as baby tested

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The baby is being being tested at Altnagelvin Hospital.

The baby is being being tested at Altnagelvin Hospital.

The baby is being being tested at Altnagelvin Hospital.

A baby is being tested for suspected coronavirus at Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry.

It is believed the tot, who is thought to be less than six months old, had flown into Ireland with his family from Hong Kong at the weekend and had been experiencing flu-like symptoms.

Patients who were in A&E on Thursday night said they saw the child being met at the door of the hospital by hospital staff in protective suits.

It is believed he was tested for the virus — which has killed more than 560 people and infected 28,000 people in China — at A&E before leaving the hospital again.

Police officers helped to seal off a section of the hospital following the infant’s departure and patients who had been waiting in A&E spoke of the department being on ‘lockdown’ for a short time.

Visitors coming to the hospital were being kept behind police cordons.

A spokesperson for the Western Health and Social Care Trust would not comment directly on the incident.

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An area at Altnagelvin Hospital was sealed off when the baby arrived

An area at Altnagelvin Hospital was sealed off when the baby arrived

An area at Altnagelvin Hospital was sealed off when the baby arrived

“We do not comment on the individual treatment and care of our patients,” they stated.

“For all information and guidance regarding the coronavirus please visit www.publichealth.hscni.net.”

A spokesperson for the Public Health Agency also said it “cannot comment on individual cases”.

"We are not providing a running commentary on numbers of suspected cases in Northern Ireland. We will not be commenting on numbers of people being screened, and we cannot comment on any individual cases," they said.

“The latest information on novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) can be found on the PHA’s website at www.pha.site/coronavirus.

"This is an evolving situation and we will provide updates and further guidance as required."

It comes as a third person tested positive for coronavirus in the UK after contracting the disease in Asia, but not in mainland China. England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty did not say which country the patient was in when they contracted coronavirus, or whether it was caught directly from someone who had been in Wuhan, the centre of the outbreak, but it is understood the patient contracted the illness in Singapore.

The patient, who is reported to be a middle-aged man, is thought to have been diagnosed in Brighton and was transferred St Thomas’ Hospital in London, where there is an infectious diseases unit, on Thursday afternoon.

Prof Whitty said: “The patient is being transferred to a specialist NHS centre and we are using robust infection control measures to prevent any possible further spread of the virus. The NHS is well prepared to manage these cases and we are now working quickly to identify any contacts the patient has had.”

The Government has released new advice for travellers from a list of Asian countries and territories also including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and Macau, as well as mainland China.

Anyone arriving from these locations should stay indoors and avoid contact with other people if they develop symptoms such as a cough, fever or shortness of breath, the advice warns.

Belfast Telegraph


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