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Three more GP practices close due to coronavirus fears



Three more GP practices in England have closed due to fears over the spread of novel coronavirus (Covid-19).

Ritchie Street Neighbourhood Health Centre in Islington, London, announced today that it will be closed until tomorrow due to the potentially fatal virus.

A notice on its website said ‘any patients that have… symptoms should call [NHS] 111 and not come to the practice’.

This afternoon a second GP practice, based in Farnham in Surrey, has closed down after treating a patient who had travelled from one of the areas most-affected by the virus.

The Ferns Medical Practice confirmed the patient was seen on the practice premises yesterday.

A statement on its website said: ‘As a precautionary measure, the practice has been closed today, 13 February, for a deep clean before opening again as soon as possible.

‘We have been working with our public health teams and would like to inform our patients that all measures are being put in place to assure public and staff safety.’

A third practice, French Weir Health Centre, in Taunton, Somerset, also closed today, ‘following a possible coronavirus case’.

It confirmed that it ‘followed the advice of NHS England’, and that the relevant areas were deep cleaned.

Last night, London’s first coronavirus case was confirmed. A Chinese national who arrived at Heathrow from China over the weekend is now receiving specialist treatment at Guy’s and Thomas’ Hospital, following reports that she walked into Lewisham A&E on Sunday. 

Across England, which currently has nine confirmed cases of the globally-spreading virus, eight other GP practices had previously closed for this reason.

In Brighton, described as the country’s coronavirus epicentre, the Avenue Surgery; Carden and Warmdene surgeries within County Oak Medical Centre; and Haven Practice, have closed. Nearby Seaford Medical Centre also closed briefly on Friday for ‘health and safety’ reasons.

Boundary House GP Surgery in Bracknell, Berkshire; New Pond Row Surgery also in Sussex; and Brackley Medical Centre in Northamptonshire also closed.

Meanwhile, GPs are claiming that NHS 111 is directing patients with flu-like symptoms to consult their GP, without asking whether they have travelled from regions worst-affected by coronavirus.

Note: This article was updated with new information at 17.17 on 13 February.