Scotland

Coronavirus: Praise for Scotland's response to outbreak

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Scotland's chief medical officer has praised health workers for their response to the coronavirus outbreak.

With Scotland still free from cases of the virus, Dr Catherine Calderwood also thanked members of the public for "playing an important part in keeping both yourselves and others safe".

Testing facilities for possible cases of Covid-19 are now in operation in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Health boards also exploring whether community-based testing is necessary.

Dr Calderwood said: "Although we have yet to see a positive case in Scotland the NHS has been preparing for the possibility ever since the beginning of this outbreak.

"Our staff across the NHS in Scotland have put in extraordinary work and I want to thank all health staff for their continued hard work and dedication during this rapidly evolving situation.

"I would also like to thank the number of people who have listened to advice and self-isolated - you're playing an important part in keeping both yourselves and others safe and reducing the virus's spread.

"It is vital that people continue to follow the guidance given. Don't attend your GP practice or emergency department in person.

"If you have symptoms within 14 days of travelling to the affected areas, phone your GP or NHS 24 (by calling 111) immediately for urgent health advice."

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The statement follows news that a worker on a North Sea oil platform, who was placed in isolation while being tested for suspected coronavirus, was found to be clear of the infection.

The male crew member on the Tern Alpha platform off Shetland had presented with "minor symptoms" after returning from a holiday in Thailand and has been treated by a medic.

The chief medical officer warned in January that it was "highly likely" the virus would be detected in Scotland, but reassured the public that the country was "well prepared" for an outbreak.

In total more than 68,000 people have been infected in China, with the number of deaths standing at 1,665.

Outside China there have been more than 500 cases in nearly 30 countries - including in other parts of the UK.

On Saturday, the Scottish government said that 224 people had been tested for the virus in Scotland but so far all had been negative.

The Scottish government's advice is that people experiencing a fever, cough or shortness of breath within 14 days of returning from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan or Thailand, should phone their GP or NHS 24 immediately.

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