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01/03/20 00:00

New measures to prevent coronavirus spread

Sample of patients with flu to be tested.

Tests for coronavirus are being increased to include a sample of people with flu-like symptoms who have not travelled to an affected area as a precautionary step. This will assist in detecting community transmission early in the event of an outbreak in Scotland.

Using existing NHS monitoring measures, a surveillance network of 41 GP practices across Scotland testing patients for flu will now submit samples to be tested for coronavirus.

Clinicians will also introduce testing for the virus for people who are admitted to critical care units with pneumonia across Scotland.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood said:

“Scotland is well-prepared for a significant outbreak of coronavirus but there is currently no treatment or vaccine. Early detection measures will be vital in helping to prevent the spread of the virus in the event of an outbreak.

“Hospitals and GP surgeries will now conduct tests on some patients with coughs, fevers or shortness of breath - regardless of whether they have travelled to a place where the virus is known to be spreading. Not everyone with flu will be tested, but this is a sensible step to take as a precautionary measure to give us an early warning of community transmission.

“People have a vital role to play in helping us contain any outbreak by following the latest health and travel advice, and following basic hygiene precautions, such as washing hands frequently, not touching their face and covering their nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.”