Why Sheffield’s two coronavirus patients are being treated at Royal Hallamshire Hospital

The Specialist Infectious Diseases Unit in the Royal Hallamshire Hospital is one of just five of its kind in the country.

By Lloyd Bent
Tuesday, 25th February 2020, 11:15 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th February 2020, 4:08 pm

On Sunday (February 23) two patients who tested positive for coronavirus were flown there for treatment, having been passengers on the stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.

They were previously among 30 repatriated Britons and two Irish citizens beginning a 14-day quarantine at Arrowe Park Hospital in Wirral.

Both have been placed in quarantine in the Sheffield hospital, where they are being treated by specialist staff in secure conditions.

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Royal Hallamshire Hospital

As the unit at the Specialist Infectious Diseases Unit is self-contained, the presence of the two patients in Sheffield poses no risk to other patients and visitors to the Royal Hallamshire, or to any other hospital or community care service in the city.

NHS England told The Star that the unit in Sheffield was one of a ‘network’ of infectious disease units that was part of existing plans for tackling any kind of outbreak in the country.

Two other UK passengers from the cruise ship who tested positive for the virus were flown to similar units at the Royal in Liverpool and the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, NHS England said. The other two specialist units of this kind are in London.

Professor Keith Willett, NHS strategic incident director for coronavirus said: “These specialist centres are well prepared to deal with cases and earlier this year, the Newcastle unit successfully treated and discharged two patients who had contracted the virus.

“I would like to thank the excellent NHS staff who managed the transfers as well as those who will now be caring for these patients.

“We’ve seen in communities across the country a calm response to confirmed and potential cases of coronavirus, which will continue to be important as more of us might need to self-isolate for a time, to protect ourselves, our families and the community.”

Yesterday, Greg Fell, Director of Public Health in Sheffield, said that the two people are being treated in Sheffield because Sheffield Teaching Hospitals "has a very good infectious diseases unit."