County council officials at same conference as coronavirus patient

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Essex County Council officials were at a conference attended by a delegate infected by coronavirus, it has been confirmed.

Since the UK Bus Summit at the QEII Conference Centre on February 6, health officials have contacted hundreds of attendees, including the official public transport information team at the council after it emerged someone at the conference was later diagnosed with COVID-19.

In a tweet, Essex PT said: “Great day at the #UKBusSummit. Great discussions had and come away with some good ideas to take back to the team.”

It is unclear how many of the team were at the centre or whether they had returned to work at county hall, where hundreds of people work and come into contact with large numbers of visitors daily.

Two Labour MPs who were also at the conference said they were well but confirmed they were cancelling public engagements until February 20 as a precaution.

So far, nine people in the UK have tested positive for the virus.

Public Health England has sent a letter to attendees of the UK Bus Summit.

The letter reads: “While the degree of contact you may have had with the case at the summit is unlikely to have been significant, we are taking a precautionary approach and informing you.

“If you are well, there is no action for you to take. If you develop symptoms or a cough or fever or shortness of breath, you should immediately stay indoors and avoid contact with oter people, as you would with the flu, call NHS 111 to inform that you are a contact of a confirmed case of COVID–19”

A spokesperson for Essex County Council said: “We can confirm that there was attendance from Essex County Council at this conference and that the advice offered by Public Health England is being followed.

“Public Health England were clear in their letter that any contact with the case of COVID-19 identified as attending the summit is unlikely to have been significant, and that their approach in writing to delegates with advice is precautionary.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter