Coronavirus briefing by Brighton and Hove director of public health

Green Councillor for Brunswick and Adelaide ward, Phelim MacCafferty released a public health briefing about the coronavirus to councillors this afternoon. He said: “Last night Rob Persey who is the council’s executive director for health and adult social care briefed Councillors. I can raise queries you may have about the virus with Rob and with other council officials.”


The 2019 coronavirus called Covid-19 by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has been spreading since it was first reported in December 2019. Symptoms include fever and respiratory symptoms including coughing and shortness of breath.

Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. Standard advice to prevent the spread of infection is recommended, including maintaining good hand, respiratory and personal hygiene.

On Friday 7 February it was confirmed that the UK’s third positive case for 2019 Novel Coronavirus was a resident of Hove. Since then a total of five cases have been confirmed in the city.

Details of positive cases and their location can only be confirmed by the Chief Medical Officer of England.

Latest update on the coronavirus

On Monday 10 February the latest cases were confirmed by the Chief Medical Officer in the daily updates. and we added the latest information to the council website.

This means that five out of the eight current confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the UK were reported in Brighton & Hove. All the Brighton & Hove cases are adults.

The new cases are known contacts of a previously confirmed UK case. The virus was passed on in France.

The latest patients from our city have been transferred to specialist NHS centres, and healthcare workers are using robust infection control measures to prevent any possible further spread of the virus.

Addressing the situation

The NHS and Public Health England are extremely well prepared to manage these cases and treat them. The organisations are working quickly to identify any further contacts the patient has had.

This latest patient followed Public Health advice by self-isolating rather than going to A&E. For the latest advice visit

The local NHS and Brighton & Hove City Council are working closely with Public Health England (PHE) to manage the situation and to ensure everyone remain as safe as possible, using robust infection control measures to prevent any possible further spread of the coronavirus.

Some Brighton & Hove residents have been told to “self-isolate”, which means stay at home and not have contact with other people. They are being asked to take the same precautions that everyone would to avoid other people if suffering from a heavy cold or the winter flu – stay at home and not go to work or school/college.

During this time they will be supported by PHE, who are monitoring them and will undertake further testing if they show any symptoms of the virus, and provide any further care needed.

Health advice:

If you are feeling unwell and have not been contacted by Public Health England, then there is no need for concern.

You should continue to treat your symptoms as usual for seasonal flu or a common cold. If you feel unwell and do not know what you should do, then call NHS 111.


Everyone is being reminded to follow Public Health England advice to:

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel. Effective sanitiser gel should have a 60% alcohol content or higher.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel (see above) if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

Information on individual cases:

The government’s Chief Medical Officer makes the official announcements about new cases of coronavirus and what details can be shared about individual patients.

Public Health England is the lead on providing health advice and actions.

Both the Chief Medical Officer and Public Health England have made it clear that clinical guidance and medical confidentiality comes first. They will decide when it is possible to release information.

While we have been waiting for official announcements, organisations locally are working round the clock to put measures in place to manage the situation and share as much information as possible.

The city council is pressing for information to be shared quickly to reassure the public of all that is happening behind the scenes. We have also asked for more flexibility on making local announcements to clarify the situation.

The Chief Medical Officer remains the only source for confirming updates on coronavirus. The council can only share information about individual patients after details are officially announced by the Chief Medical Officer.

School closures

Public Health England and the office of the Chief Medical Officer are clear in their advice that schools do not need to close. Headteachers with any concerns have been advised to speak with Public Health England if they have any specific worries.

The council’s school’s team is in regular contact with headteachers to discuss issues at individual schools. There is a high level of concern at schools and headteachers are being kept up to date.

You can collect relevant posters for you and resident groups from Mr Mac Cafferty at Hove Town Hall.

Where can I find more information?

Hate incidents
Hate incidents either relating to the coronavirus or about separate matters can be reported to the Community Safety Team at Brighton & Hove City Council by:

Hate incidents can also be reported to Sussex Police – go to  for details or call 101 (999 in an emergency).

Some of the information in this article has been supplied by Sanctuary-on-Sea.