Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Coronavirus alert in Birmingham as medics in hazmat suits quarantine suspected victim

This is the moment a suspected British coronavirus patient who had returned from Wuhan was loaded into an ambulance by a hazmat-clad paramedic. 

Drew Bennett, 39, travelled home from the outbreak's epicentre to Harborne, Birmingham, on New Year's Eve and quickly became too unwell to leave his bed. 

Mr Bennett's symptoms eventually subsided after several days and he dismissed them as a serious case of the flu.

During a doctor visit on Monday morning for an unrelated matter he told his GP he had been struck down with the illness after returning from disease-ridden Wuhan. But Mr Bennett was told not to worry and sent home. 

At 4.20pm, later that day, an ambulance carrying medics in hazmat suits was sent to his address and he was rushed to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to have blood tests. He remains in isolation at the Birmingham hospital awaiting the results. 

Video captured by a neighbour showed one medic wearing a white hazmat suit, blue apron, gloves and a mask with a visor, escorting him into the ambulance.

But two West Midlands Ambulance Service crew could be seen without any protective clothing or masks.

The short clip, viewed more than 125,000 times, has raised concerns about whether stringent enough safety measures are in place in the UK to deal with the virus. 

Meanwhile in China, health workers have been hosing down streets, shops and public transport with disinfectant spray to try curb the spiralling epidemic.

Coronavirus has been deemed highly contagious and can spread via a simple cough or sneeze. It has killed more than 100 people in under a month.


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