First coronavirus cases confirmed in York, UK Cabinet meets in Sunderland and Prime Minister expected to make televised adddress to nation later
As I write this (around noon on Friday) as far as I know the delayed flight to RAF Brize Norton is still en route (people on it will sent by coach to be quarantined in the staff accommodation at Arrowe Park Hospital (part of the Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust).
I’ve been in the staff accommodation before as my younger brother was living there for a time when he worked at Arrowe Park Hospital, but to correct some of the misreporting on this so far by other media – the Chief Medical Officer has already confirmed two cases of coronavirus in England.
There seems to be a certain level of public alarm and of course WHO (World Health Organisation) have declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.
The hospital itself (including the Accident and Emergency department, outpatients and surgery) will be running as usual. The quarantine matter will be run by staff that aren’t hospital staff.
I am trying to remember back to a briefing at HMS Eaglet by the military on disaster response – if plans haven’t been changed since then, then I presume military personnel would be involved with of course coordination with the rest of the public services.
This matter shouldn’t however be seen as dog whistle politics. Everyone is to use a somewhat clich&eaacuted phrase “in this together”. There are well established plans to deal with this sort of eventuality by people who are trained in how to respond.
Wirral of course has plenty of experience in dealing with difficult situations and disasters!
After the New Ferry explosion – people will be wondering why when essentially money is no object to implementing the well rehearsed plans for dealing with emergencies when national government are involved, whereas when the response from some local council politicians was to wring their hands and use New Ferry as a political football.
However the five local MPs have issued a joint statement here. Wirral Council have made a statement that can be read here. Unconnected to the above (as it happened before the plane even landed), the Chief Medical Officer has confirmed multiple positive coronavirus results. Those patients have been transferred to Newcastle from York.
In a symbolic move on the day the UK leaves the EU, the Cabinet (national government) met in nearby (to Newcastle) Sunderland today and the Prime Minister will be making a televised address to the nation this evening (31st January 2020).
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