A MEDICAL centre has been closed and sealed off after a GP tested positive for coronavirus.

Cleaners in hazmat suits were sent into County Oak Medical Centre yesterday morning after a staff member’s case was confirmed. The centre, in Carden Hill, Brighton, is close to Carden Primary School.

A sign in the windows warned patients of “operational difficulties” and a message on the centre’s phone said it had been forced to close because of “an urgent operational health and safety reason”.

The GP was one of four new coronavirus cases confirmed in Brighton and Hove yesterday. They include another healthcare worker.


This brings the total in the city to five and doubles the overall number of cases in the UK to eight.

Seaford Medical Centre was also closed without warning on Friday morning but The Argus has not received a response from NHS Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford Clinical Commissioning Group on the reason for the closure.

Public Health England medical director Yvonne Doyle said it had found “the new cases are all closely linked to one another” after tracing their contacts.

She said: “As soon as they were identified, we advised them to self-isolate in order to keep patient contact to a minimum. We are now working urgently to identify all patients and other healthcare workers who may have come into close contact and at this stage we believe this to be a relatively small number.”

The patients have since been transferred to specialist NHS centres at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and The Royal Free hospitals in London and medics are using “robust infection control measures to prevent further spread of the virus”.

The outbreak stemmed from a Hove man, now referred to as a “super spreader”, whose positive diagnosis was confirmed on Thursday.

The man is said to be in his forties or fifties and have contracted the virus during a business trip in Singapore. He stopped for four days in France before returning to Sussex.

He spent several days undiagnosed, visiting The Grenadier pub in Hangleton and taking a “runner’s yoga” class at the Cornerstone Community Centre in Hove.

Staff at both sites have since been advised by Public Health England to “self isolate” to avoid further spread of the infection.

The number of people given this advice has steadily grown since the first case was confirmed and includes a pupil at Portslade Aldridge Community Academy.

The school in Chalky Road, Portslade, has about 900 pupils.

EasyJet has revealed it was contacted by Public Health England after one of its passengers on a flight from Geneva to Gatwick – possibly the “super spreader” – tested positive for the illness. It was told all passengers “in the vicinity of the customer” on flight EZS8481 would be contacted. An EasyJet spokeswoman said that “as the customer was not experiencing any symptoms, the risk to others on board the flight is very low”.

Hours later, a University of Sussex student was taken to hospital to be tested for the virus. Video on social media showed an official in full protective overalls walking with a person towards an ambulance. University chiefs said the student had been overseas and informed health professionals of their concerns.