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‘Suffolk is ready’ as UK prepares for crucial time in coronavirus battle

PUBLISHED: 19:00 27 February 2020

Dr Dan Poulter feels Suffolk's health service is ready for the challenges of Coronavirus. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Dr Dan Poulter feels Suffolk's health service is ready for the challenges of Coronavirus. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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The UK is entering a crucial period in the battle against Coronavirus over the next two to four weeks – and could have to change its strategy if numbers affected take off.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock and junior minister Jo Churchill were at a government briefing on Coronavirus. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA WireHealth Secretary Matt Hancock and junior minister Jo Churchill were at a government briefing on Coronavirus. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

That's the view of Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter who is chair of the all-party group on global health in Westminster.

But he is impressed by what he has seen at Ipswich Hospital and at health centres in his constituency - and believes people should not be too concerned about how the disease could affect them.

Dr Poulter said the current policy of containing the disease and isolating people who may have been in contact with sufferers might become unsustainable if it becomes a major outbreak.

He said: "I suspect things could change in the next two to four weeks - but from what I have seen in Suffolk there has been a great deal of preparation and the health service is ready.

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"It may be that we end up with a situation similar to that when swine flu came in 10 years ago with people being asked to stay at home until they are better - which will deal with most cases."

He pointed out that in the vast majority of cases Coronavirus was a comparatively mild infection that people could recover from at home. In a few cases people did need medical attention and in a very few they could become very ill and need urgent hospital attention.

The mortality rate was thought to be about 2% - but this is not certain because many of those who had suffered from Coronavirus may have been unaware of the nature of their illness and may have recovered without any diagnosis being made.

However because it was still a very new virus, scientists were still unable to be certain about its likely effects.

Meanwhile West Suffolk MP and health secretary Matt Hancock told the Nuffield Trust Summit in Windsor that people may have to accept some changes to try to minimise the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak - especially the cancellation of major sporting and social events.

He told the conference: "We do want to minimise social and economic disruption subject to keeping people safe.

"Of course that is always going to be a balance. We're going to be led by the scientific advice into what works."

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