A CORONAVIRUS assessment centre is being set up in St Mary's Hospital.

National guidance has been issued by the NHS to every hospital in the country to set up an assessment service — including an NHS 111 coronavirus pod.

The Isle of Wight NHS Trust will be creating such a pod in the next week for patients who are concerned they may have the virus and go to the hospital.

The new contingency measures, being installed in A&E departments, will prevent those who think they have symptoms of the coronavirus from mingling with vulnerable patients. Instead they will be directed to the pod.

Official advice for those who have travelled from Wuhan or the Hubei province in the last 14 days is to isolate yourself, avoiding contact with other people as you would the flu.

There is also advice to travellers who have returned to the UK from China, Thailand, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Macau and have developed a cough, fever or shortness of breath.

An NHS spokesperson said: "Anyone returning from Hubei province in China  in the last 14 days should stay indoors, avoid contact with other people and call NHS 111 whether or not they are showing symptoms.

"Anyone with a cough, fever, or shortness of breath who attends hospital and has recently returned from one of the specified countries, will be advised to follow signs to NHS 111 pods and call for advice, so they stay isolated from other patients and avoid causing unnecessary pressure in A&E.”

Since the virus has spread overseas, 25 nations have confirmed a total of 191 cases, although there has been only one death so far, in the Philippines.

The coronavirus causes severe acute respiratory infection and symptoms usually start with a fever, followed by a dry cough.

Most people infected are likely to fully recover — just as they would from flu.

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