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No new cases of Coronavirus in Suffolk and Essex as health chiefs reassure public over NHS capacity

PUBLISHED: 11:43 04 March 2020 | UPDATED: 12:24 05 March 2020

Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said that the NHS is prepared for a wider outbreak of coronavirus Picture: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire

Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said that the NHS is prepared for a wider outbreak of coronavirus Picture: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire

There remains no confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Suffolk as NHS chiefs confirmed the service would be able to cope with an increase in cases.

As of Tuesday there were 51 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the UK; none of which have been confirmed as being in Suffolk.

Suffolk County Council said that it was working with the Suffolk Resilience Forum to prepare as it would with any other emergency.

Over the border in Essex, there remained one case of the disease, which was in Harlow.

Essex County Council's director of wellbeing, public health and communities, Mike Gogarty said: "We fully anticipate an increase in numbers which is why our services have planned for, and are ready, for this situation.

"I'd like to reassure people that the risk to the general public remains low and Essex County Council is working with health colleagues to do everything we can to stop the virus spreading and ensure the people of Essex are protected."

England's Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said on Wednesday morning the NHS would cope with a major spread of cases but could come under "very high pressure" in a large epidemic.

"For the great majority of people this will be a mild or moderate disease, anything from a sniffle to having to go to bed for a few days rather like with mild flu," said Professor Whitty.

"And there are some people who will get it with no symptoms at all, but for a minority of people - and this is particular in people who are older people or people with pre-existing health conditions - the risk is higher.

Retailers are running low on handwash, with many completely out of hand sanitiser Picture: ARCHANTRetailers are running low on handwash, with many completely out of hand sanitiser Picture: ARCHANT

"The NHS will always cope because the NHS is an emergency service which is very good at adapting to what it finds itself with."

But he said if the UK sees a very large epidemic, "then it will put very high pressure on the NHS" and there could be "several weeks which could be very difficult" for the health service and wider society.

The latest information on confirmed cases within the UK is expected at 2pm.

There are now more than 90,000 cases worldwide with more than 3,000 deaths.

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