Intended for healthcare professionals


Seven days in medicine: 5-11 Feb 2020

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 13 February 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m548


UK declares “serious and imminent threat to public health”

The UK government declared that the “incidence or transmission of novel coronavirus constitutes a serious and imminent threat to public health.” The announcement on 10 February means that England’s health secretary, Matt Hancock, can enact regulations to ensure that people are “protected as far as possible from the transmission of the virus.” This includes designating Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside and Kents Hill Park in Milton Keynes as isolation facilities. As of 10 February eight people in the UK had tested positive for 2019-nCoV.

More UK laboratories get diagnostic testing

Public Health England (PHE) announced that it was rolling out its novel coronavirus diagnostic test to 12 laboratories in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland over the next few weeks, bringing the total facilities with testing capability to 13. This will increase the testing capacity in England from 100 to 1000 people a day. The test is performed on a sample from the nose, throat, and respiratory tract. A confirmatory test will continue to be conducted at PHE’s Colindale laboratories in north London. PHE is also working with the World Health Organization to test samples from countries that do not have testing facilities.

Global stocks of protective gear are depleted

The demand for personal protective equipment such as masks and respirators is 100 times the normal level, and costs have skyrocketed to around 20 …

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