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Health warning after council team potentially exposed to Coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 11:29 15 February 2020 | UPDATED: 13:06 16 February 2020

A Public Health England poster about coronavirus - so far nine people in the UK have developed the condition. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images

A Public Health England poster about coronavirus - so far nine people in the UK have developed the condition. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

A council team attended a major bus conference in London in which it later emerged a visiting delegate had coronavirus, it has been confirmed.

The team were based at 

County Hall in Chelmsford, Essex. Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGEThe team were based at County Hall in Chelmsford, Essex. Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGE

The officers from Essex County Council were on an information stand at the UK Bus Summit at the QEII Conference Centre in Westminster.

Since the event, on February 6, health officials have contacted hundreds of attendees, including the official public transport information team at the council after it emerged someone at the conference was later diagnosed with the virus.

It is unclear how many of the team were at the centre or whether they had returned to work at County Hall in Chelmsford, where hundreds of people work and come into contact with large numbers of visitors daily.

The summit is a major event involving delegates from all over the country discussing national bus policy.

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Two Labour MPs who were also at the conference said they were well but confirmed they were cancelling public engagements until February 20 as a precaution.

In letters sent to attendees, Public Health England said: "While the degree of contact you may have had with the case at the summit is unlikely to have been significant, we are taking a precautionary approach and informing you.

"If you are well, there is no action for you to take. If you develop symptoms or a cough or fever or shortness of breath, you should immediately stay indoors and avoid contact with other people, as you would with the flu. Call NHS 111 to inform them that you are a contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19."

So far, nine people in the UK have tested positive for the virus.

A spokesperson for Essex County Council said: "We can confirm that there was attendance from Essex County Council at this conference and that the advice offered by Public Health England is being followed.

"Public Health England were clear in their letter that any contact with the case of COVID-19 identified as attending the summit is unlikely to have been significant, and that their approach in writing to delegates with advice is precautionary."

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