Public Health Wales statement on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
This statement will be updated daily at 12pm
Updated: 12pm Friday 20 March 2020
Dr Giri Shankar, Incident Director for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak response at Public Health Wales, said:
“The Chief Medical Officer has today confirmed the death of a third Welsh resident who had tested positive for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Public Health Wales offer our sincere condolences to family and friends affected by this loss.
“The individual, who was in their seventies and had underlying health conditions, was being treated at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend.
“No further details regarding this individual will be released, and we ask those reporting on the situation to respect patient confidentiality.
“Three people in Wales who tested positive for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) have now died.
“Twenty-one new cases have tested positive for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 191, although the true number of cases is likely to be higher.
“Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is now circulating in every part of Wales.
“We are working closely with health boards, NHS 111 and the Welsh Government to develop systems so that NHS Wales and members of the public have appropriate access to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing. Based on careful risk assessment, a phased rollout of testing will commence starting with health care workers involved in frontline patient facing clinical care.
“Testing capacity is being expanded and is currently prioritised for patients, health care workers involved in frontline patient facing clinical care, and others where recommended by health board medical directors. As our testing capacity increases, further guidance will be issued on those who are eligible for testing.
“Members of the public should follow the latest public health advice.”
The latest guidance is:
People who live with others should stay at home for 14 days if they, or anyone in their household, has either a high temperature or a new and continuous cough
People who live alone should stay at home for seven days if they develop a high temperature or a new and continuous cough
Everyone should avoid non-essential contact with others and unnecessary travel
Everyone being asked to work from home where they possibly can, and avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and social venues
People over 70, and vulnerable groups of any age will be asked within days to be shielded from social contact for several weeks
Dr Giri Shankar said: “People no longer need to contact NHS 111 if they think they may have contracted Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Advice about the virus is available on the Public Health Wales website.
“People with a fever or persistent cough should stay at home for seven days if they live alone, or 14 days if they live with others. Anyone who lives with someone displaying coronavirus symptoms should also stay at home for 14 days. They should not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
“They should only contact NHS 111 if they feel they cannot cope with their symptoms at home, their condition gets worse, or their symptoms do not get better after seven days.
“Only call 999 if you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, do not call 999 just because you are on-hold to 111. We appreciate that 111 lines are busy, but you will get through after a wait.
“The public play an important role in the ‘delay’ phase. By following the latest advice, you will protect yourself, protect the most vulnerable, and delay and flatten the peak, which will reduce the pressure on NHS Wales and minimise the impact of the virus.”