“Call your GP. Don’t go and sit in the waiting room with other patients”

Several Flemish hospitals are gearing up to deal with a person-to-person coronavirus outbreak in Belgium.  Antwerp University Hospital is a case in point.  Medical director Guy Hans: “In recent days the number of patients who are worried or who have been advised to consult us for screening has risen.”

So far only one infection has been diagnosed in Belgium.

Guy Hans: “Viruses don’t recognise national borders.  It’s likely that infections will be diagnosed here in coming days or weeks.”

Antwerp Hospital is taking measures: “We have noticed that the situation is impacting on the normal operation of our A&E.  People reporting they suspect they have a coronavirus infection are directed to a separate department.   It’s in containers that we are now readying for consultations.”

Extra staff aren’t being deployed.  Part of the hospital may be closed to allow the hospital to divert staff to care for infected patients later on.

“We are giving staff extra training.  They already possess extensive basic knowledge, but for coronavirus a special procedure has been drawn up and that needs to be taught to everybody.”

Symptoms of the coronavirus are the same as those of ordinary flu.

“There’s coughing, fever and mucus production.  The chance you’ve got flu rather than corona is a lot greater.”

If you are worried, don’t head straight for the doctor’s!

“Don’t go and sit in the GP’s waiting room between other patients, but report to your GP first.  He will evaluate the risk and decide what must happen next.”

Guy Hans: “We are definitely ready.  We have the structures, the directives and the equipment to isolate people.”

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