COUNCIL bosses held an emergency coronavirus press briefing yesterday afternoon... to tell people to wash their hands.

Newspaper and TV journalists from across the country packed Hove Town Hall, some broadcasting live.

Brighton and Hove City Council leader Nancy Platts said they had gathered the media because they “knew people were worried”.

She said: “One of the messages we wanted to get across today is that would like everyone to practise good hygiene so we’re asking everyone in the city to make sure they’re washing their hands properly, using tissues and hand gel.


“We would like anyone who owns a public space, such as bars, cafes, restaurants, pubs, gyms, anywhere the public uses that they’re washing down equipment and surfaces regularly and adopting hygiene methods to keep people safe.”

She and chief executive Geoff Raw later held up “catch it, bin it, kill it” posters.

Answering questions from journalists, they said health centres closed because of the outbreak would reopen today after a “deep clean”.

And they warned against the naming of suspected patients.

Responding to questions relating to worried parents, who have concerns about whether sending their children to school was safe, they said the council would be following the advice of Public Health England which is currently that schools will remain open.

The Argus pressed Cllr Platts on why she was only briefing the press now,  five days after the first confirmed case.

She said the council had issued daily updates and she had “personally briefed councillors on Monday about how to reassure residents”.

Chief executive Geoff Raw said the council was “working closely with local NHS partners and Public Health England” and “had a direct line into the Chief Medical Officer”.

In a message to parents worried about sending their children to school, Mr Raw said: “We are working very closely with our headteachers and we are making sure they fully understand what the advice is from Public Health England.

“Public Health England are saying that for the time being schools remain open, there is no need for schools to close.

“If parents are concerned, they will do the best thing for their children I’m sure.

“If they are particularly concerned, than as we advise, contact NHS 111 and the contact centre will talk though what other problems they need to look at.”

You can find the latest information from PHE at