Coronavirus: Three cases confirmed in Barnet, victims had been in Iran and Italy
PUBLISHED: 13:30 05 March 2020 | UPDATED: 11:16 10 March 2020
There are three cases of coronavirus in Barnet, the Ham&High understands.
After local MP Mike Freer posted on social media saying the potentially lethal virus had spread to the his Finchley and Golders Green constituency, Barnet Council and Public Health England (PHE) have jointly released a statement clarifying the scale of the outbreak.
Those unwell, the authorities said, had contracted the virus while in Italy and Iran respectively.
PHE said 'contact tracing' of those who had been in close proximity to those infected had been completed, while the town hall's director of public health emphasised there was 'currently no evidence of community spread' in the borough.
Dr Edward Wynne-Evans, a consultant with PHE said: 'We are contacting people who had close contact with the latest confirmed cases of COVID-19. Three cases are residents of Barnet and became infected whilst in Iran and Italy.
'Contact tracing has been completed and close contacts have been given health advice about symptoms and contact details to use if they become unwell in the 14 days after contact with the confirmed cases.
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'This tried and tested method will ensure we are able to minimise any risk to them and the wider public.'
The council's public health boss Tamara Djuretic added: 'These are isolated cases and there is currently no evidence of community spread in Barnet.
'I'd like to reassure people that the risk to the general public remains low and the local authority is working with health colleagues to do everything we can to stop the virus spreading and ensure local people are protected.'
Ms Djuretic said anyone who had not been contacted by PHE ought not too worry, and emphasised the need to maintain good hygiene to protect against the virus. Her advice was to 'wash your hands regularly and thoroughly and if you cough, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue'.
If you have recently been to one of the affected areas and are feeling unwell, you should use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service for further advice - the public are asked not to visit a doctor or hospital. Advice on how people can protect themselves online at nhs.uk/coronavirus.