More cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Greater Manchester, with new patients reported in Wigan, Bolton, Oldham, Wythenshawe, Bury, and Trafford, bringing the total cases in Greater Manchester to 11 (at time of writing 5/03/2020). The virus has been spreading across Asia and Europe and 115 people in the UK have been confirmed to have contracted the virus.
Public Health England are attempting to tackle the pandemic by introducing guidelines for individuals to self-quarantine if they suspect symptoms. Special pods have also been introduced at hospitals, where you can be seen and treated by medical professionals.
The Director of Public Health for Bury Council Lesley Jones said: “I’d like to reassure people that the risk to the general public remains low and Bury Council is working with health colleagues to do everything we can to stop the virus spreading and ensure the people of Bury are protected.”
Students have noticed these new pods, which have been set up at St Mary’s Hospital on Oxford Road, on their commute to university.
Individuals with links to the virus have complained about a lack of coordination in containing the outbreak. A couple who returned from a holiday in Milan told the Manchester Evening News that they felt the control over the screening of holidaymakers returning to the UK was poor. They explained that on arrival into Italy they were screened and tested for the virus however on return into Manchester Airport on the 25th February they received no checks.
The escalation of the virus in affected areas such as Italy has had a huge impact on business and trade. The couple spoke of cafes closing early and large public gatherings being cancelled.
Tweets from Italy have shown people emptying supermarket shelves of hand sanitizer and masks as well as stocking up on food and essentials in fear of being quarantined or put on lockdown. Italy currently has over 1,000 cases of the virus confirmed and a death toll of 52.
In response to the increase of local cases, Manchester students such as UoM third year Jodie Flowers, have decided to stock up on supplies as a precaution. Jodie told The Mancunion she bought herself “several cans of tinned food and extra loo roll so that if I get quarantined I can survive for 2 weeks.”
The rising number of cases has led to frenzied reporting from media outlets. Students have commented on the number of social media alerts and posts every time another case is confirmed in the UK, with sponsored videos targeted at washing hands and how to sneeze correctly to prevent further spread of the virus.
The University of Manchester has suggested to students who may be worried about contracting the virus to seek advice through the NHS 111 helpline and follow the information provided by Public Health England.