King's College Hospital in 'lockdown' as two patients test positive for coronavirus

4 March 2020, 23:56 | Updated: 5 March 2020, 00:01

King's College Hospital is in partial lockdown after two patients tested positive for coronavirus
King's College Hospital is in partial lockdown after two patients tested positive for coronavirus. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

London's King's College Hospital is in partial lockdown after two of its patients tested positive for coronavirus.

The south London hospital has been forced to ban some visitors to certain wards in order to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 disease.

It was confirmed on Wednesday that the two people who tested positive in the hospital were among the latest tally of infections as the UK's cases reached 87.

What remains unclear is whether those diagnosed with the disease caught the virus while at the hospital or where they are currently being treated.

A spokesman for the hospital said: "The trust has had two recent patients who have tested positive for Covid-19 (Coronavirus).

"We have strict protocols in place to manage the control of infection and to reduce the possibility of cross-infection, and this includes restricting access for staff and visitors to the ward.

"Public Health England experts are carrying out contact tracing and will be in touch with individuals who may have been exposed to the virus to provide them with advice.

"For anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus, call 111 or visit here as the first port of call."

It comes as Britain's chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty warned that a "significant epidemic" in Britain is now "highly likely."

The professor insisted the public should not be alarmed, but should instead focus on protecting ourselves.

A Government campaign has been launched highlighting how we can do just that, by washing our hands properly. He said up to 20 per cent of the population could be sick at any one time.

Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari, the Chief Medical Officer said the low number of cases in the UK is because "we have been lucky," but he did attribute the success in halting the spread to good work by NHS staff.

He said public health authorities are very good at "slowing down the spread".

When asked if face masks can stop coronavirus Professor Whitty said they are "useful only if people have coronavirus or another kind of infection."

He added they can reduce the possibility of someone who is infected passing the virus on.

"They are not effective in reducing it significantly if you just wear them and you are well yourself."

He revealed to LBC that a vaccine was still "at least a year" away due to all the stages that any potential solution would have to go through before it can be dispensed to the public.