A third general practice surgery has been closed its doors over a suspected case of coronavirus in Somerset.

French Weir Health Centre, in Taunton, closed on Thursday morning as a precautionary measure following guidance from Public Health England (PHE).

It is the third to close in the last week, after a surgery in Berkshire shut following a visit from a patient showing symptoms of the virus, and another in Brighton also closed following reports a doctor had been infected.

Dr Mike Smart, of French Weir Health Centre, said it was still helping patients via phone calls while the surgery remained closed.

He said: ‘We have had a possible case of coronavirus.



‘We have been advised by Public Health England and have temporarily closed the practice following their advice…

‘We have had a deep clean of all the possible infection areas but at this stage coronavirus has not been confirmed.’

The surgery posted on its Facebook page: ‘The surgery is currently closed for infection control reasons. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused.’

It comes as London confirmed its first case of the virus, named Covid-19, last night. The patient, a Chinese national, is being treated at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital.

This brings the number of people infected in the UK up to nine – two of whom are GPs – with doctors warning the virus could spread quickly in the capital as the Underground is considered a hotbed for transmission.

However, of the 1,750 tests carried out on patients so far in the UK, over 99 per cent had negative results.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Boundary House GP Surgery in Bracknell, Berkshire, closed for a precautionary deep clean in order to prevent transmission of the deadly virus.

The surgery has just under 20,000 registered patients across three sites. It posted a notice outside the building explaining to patients that the surgery was closed due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’.

It came a day after the County Oak Medical Centre in Brighton closed its doors for a similar extensive clean, after reports a doctor working there had tested positive.



Public Health England said an announcement will be made in the event a new case of coronavirus is confirmed.

A spokesperson for Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group said precautionary screenings are taking place across the UK.

They added: ‘Screening is taking place across the country and this region is no exception.

‘We cannot comment on individual cases and we respect the confidentiality of the patients.’

The Department for Education has issued advice to schools to follow instructions given by Public Health England regarding self-isolation for people who have recently travelled from Wuhan or specified countries.

There have been almost 60,000 cases of the virus in China, with more than 1,100 deaths.

In the rest of the world more than 400 cases have been confirmed across 24 countries. Two deaths have occurred outside China but none in the UK.