Drive-thru coronavirus tests will be introduced in the NHS, with suspicious cases in their own cars.
The new scheme is part of efforts to relieve pressure on ambulance and hospital services, amid concerns that they might soon be overwhelmed by the amount of tests they carry out.
It is about 32 British and other European citizens, who spent weeks trapped on a cruise ship cruise by the coronavirus virus in Japan, returned to the United Kingdom to spend a fortnight in quarantine in the Wirral.
So far they have been negative for Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
But David and Sally Abel, a Northamptonshire couple who were diagnosed with coronavirus on the ship and are currently being treated in a Japanese hospital, have been told they have pneumonia.
His son Steve Abel said in a YouTube video on Friday night that his father’s condition was “very serious,” while his mother has a milder form of pneumonia. The couple has criticized the conditions in the hospital.
Although only nine people have been diagnosed with the virus in the United Kingdom, the NHS has conducted 6,152 tests in suspicious cases.
Each case can keep an ambulance off the road for up to eight hours, and each vehicle must be decontaminated before it can be used again.
Now, the NHS should ask patients with suspected coronavirus to drive to health center car parks, with nurses with Hazmat equipment cleaning them through a casement window.
The scheme, pioneering a London trust, comes along with the implementation of “home tests” for the coronavirus, and nurses and doctors increasingly request to visit patients at home to collect their samples.
The NHS Trust of the Center of Community Health of the Center of London will launch on Monday the “drive thru” program in the parking lot of one of its health centers.
NHS sources said other trusts looked at the scheme with interest, which means the initiative could be implemented more widely if it is a success.
The plan at Parsons Green Health Center, in West London, is intended to relieve pressure on hospital and ambulance services.
However, the plans have raised some concern that those who cannot drive are asked if they have someone who can take them to the center, which could put an additional person in danger of infection.
Center nurses will be asked to wear protective clothing before traveling outside to collect swabs from patients in their cars, and then patients will be asked to return to their homes, unless they feel sick.
Only patients referred by NHS 111 will be sent to the driving service through, with pregnant women and those considered seriously ill excluded according to their protocols.
Other NHS trusts have begun conducting pilot coronavirus tests at home.
Professor Keith Willett, director of strategic incidents at the NHS for coronavirus, said evaluating people in their own homes instead of taking them to the hospital would help limit the spread of the infection.
Dr. Laurence John, an infectious disease expert at Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow, said it has become clear that it is “very inefficient” to transport everyone who needs testing to the hospital.
He said the need for new approaches became apparent after 25 London ambulances ended up out of service on the same afternoon, due to the demands of the tests.
The University College London Hospitals Foundation trust, the Guys and St Thomas Hospital Foundation trust, and the St George’s University Hospitals Foundation trust have also embarked on home testing schemes.
Due to the need to keep patients with suspected coronavirus isolated, health officials emphasize that anyone concerned that they may be suffering from the virus should call 111, instead of going to their GP or hospital.
In Italy, the death of two people has led to the closure of stores and schools to try to stop the rise of new infections.
The death of a 75-year-old woman on Saturday near the small town of Codogno in Lombardy came a day after a 78-year-old man succumbed to the virus in the neighboring Veneto region, marking the first in Italy and Europe.
Iran ordered yesterday the closure of schools and universities in two cities affected by an outbreak of coronavirus that has killed five people in the Islamic Republic, mostly outside the Far East.