Approximately 118 people returning from Wuhan in China have arrived at Kents Hill Park in Milton Keynes where they will stay for the next 14 days.
Men, women and children arrived at the 300-bed hotel facility at 10.15am on Sunday, February 9, in eight coaches. All guests underwent additional health screening immediately on arrival. Additional clothing, toiletries, children’s toys, nappies and other comfort items were made available for all guests. Each guest (or couple/ family group) have been allocated two rooms (one as a bedroom and one as lounge/ kitchen), where they will remain in isolation for the next 48 hours. Fridges and microwaves are available in every room, along with food and drinks.
Staff from a number of different health and social care agencies, including Milton Keynes University Hospital, NHS England, South Central Ambulance Service, Milton Keynes CCG, and Public Health England; as well Milton Keynes Council, are providing on-site support for guests at the facility.
All guests and staff are adhering to strict infection and prevention control protocols, including wearing masks and gloves. Staff in close contact with guests, or performing clinical assessments, are wearing full personal protective equipment.
Access to the hotel facility is strictly regulated and staff leaving the facility undertake appropriate decontamination. As guests remain in isolation – as a precautionary measure – and with controls on access and rigorous infection prevention and control measures in place, there is no risk to the wider public.
The presence of this group in Milton Keynes does not present any risk to local people – businesses and schools on the Kents Hill Park estate will continue to open as normal. No additional safeguards are required for members of the public.
The process of repatriation has been led by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, with the advice of the Chief Medical Officer, and the support of the Department of Health and Social Care, the NHS and Public Health England.
The UK is well prepared for these types of incidents and there is rapid and effective testing undertaken by PHE available for this virus. The NHS has expert teams of highly-trained staff and specialist hospital units around the country ready to receive and care for any patients with any highly infectious disease. The NHS adheres to the highest safety standards for the protection of its staff, patients and the public.
Based on current evidence, Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) presents with flu-like symptoms including a fever, a cough, or difficulty breathing. The current evidence is that most cases appear to be mild.
There is more information and advice on Novel Coronavirus on the Government’s website at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public
The Multi-agency response team will be regularly updating this briefing for partners.
Frequently asked questions
Are staff entering the facility where the groups are being kept required to wear full PPE?
Staff entering the facility are taking appropriate infection prevention and control precautions including wearing appropriate PPE.
The people who drove the buses that transported the group were not wearing PPE – does this pose a risk to the wider community?
Seating arrangements ensured that the drivers were not in close contact with the passengers on the journey, which meant they were not at risk and did not require PPE. Close contact means being within two metres of an infected person for at least fifteen minutes. The measures we put in place to address this were to block off five rows at the front and boarding the drivers last. The drivers do not pose a risk to public health as a result of driving these passengers to their accommodation and should go about their daily lives as normal.
If NHS staff need to enter the site, will they be provided with full PPE?
Staff entering the facility are taking appropriate infection prevention and control precautions including wearing appropriate PPE provided by the facility.
Are those who have been repatriated being assessed daily by a medical team?
There is an onsite clinical team and checks are being made daily on all those in the facility.
Is the site being regularly cleaned to help stop the spread of infection?
Appropriate cleaning is being undertaken onsite.
Why was this site chosen?
The local site has been chosen because it offers appropriate accommodation and other facilities for those coming back from Wuhan while they stay in Milton Keynes. It also allows the health of those in the group to be regularly monitored and has the necessary medical facilities close at hand should they be required.
There are schools in the area, do these people pose a risk?
This group being repatriated will be kept in isolation on the site and so they pose no risk to the wider community, including any school children.
If they test negative, will they be allowed to leave?
As the incubation period is 14 days, people may still develop the virus even after an initial test. They will therefore be asked to remain at the facility until day 14.
What will happen if they test positive?
If a result does come back positive they will be isolated appropriately and receive the necessary specialist care within the NHS.