A NURSE who was isolated to prevent the potential spread of coronavirus has spoken out against the way “self-isolation” is being managed.

She spoke to The Argus after coming into direct, sustained contact with a person being tested for the virus – and exhibiting some of the symptoms herself.

Like several others in schools and hospitals in Brighton, she has been told to “self-isolate” by Public Health England.

The health body advises people who have come into contact with a coronavirus case to remain alone at home to stop the virus spreading.


But as more people are asked to isolate themselves, there is little sense of how the process is being managed and what precautions are being taken, she said.

The nurse, speaking anonymously, said self-isolation “is not being dealt with effectively”.

She said she was sent home from her workplace wearing a medical mask – but was surprised to be taken in a regular cab with a driver not wearing a mask.

She says she was dropped at her doorstep with little advice about what she should do to prevent the possible spread of the virus.

And she said she has been left to pick up groceries and takeaway food from her doorstep.

She said: “I’m feeling terrible. I’ve been kept at home, and I can’t see my family.

“Since I found out, I’ve had to get everyone out of my house to protect them. I had to figure out how I could get them out without risking getting anyone infected.

“It’s scary, because I’ve got a compromised immune system. Some of these fears are over the top, but if I do get coronavirus, it could be fatal.

“I left my workplace in a cab. I was wearing a medical mask with a filter. But the driver wasn’t wearing a mask. I was surprised – I’d just been in contact with someone who may have coronavirus.

“When I got home, my family had packed and gone. I’ve got kids, and they were understandably upset they had to leave. They didn’t understand.

“The place was empty. I thought: “Right, what do I do now?’

“I didn’t have any food in the house. I had to order a takeaway. It sounds ridiculous but I got fish and chips and asked the delivery person to leave it on the doorstep.

“Now, I’m waiting for a Tesco delivery. I’m going to ask them to leave it outside. I don’t want to put signs outside my house saying I’m in isolation, but I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do.”

Since being in contact with the person being tested for the virus, she said the advice she has received has been insufficient – and not urgent enough.

She said: “Once you call NHS 111 and get through to Public Health England asking for advice on how to get tested, they say they’ll get back to you in a few hours.

“But it took them 15 hours to get back to me – and I’ve come into direct contact with someone who was in isolation. I’m a nurse, but someone else might think ‘Oh, they’ll get back to me eventually’, and go about their daily business. They could start spreading the virus.

“This is not being dealt with effectively. I thought there would be a plan in place for something like this, but in my case, I know there wasn’t one.”

The nurse said she has been left feeling anxious due to a lack of support. She said: “I’m feeling paranoid at home now.

"I’m scared to touch anything because I’m not sure how long the virus stays on surfaces. I’m going around scrubbing things as a precaution for when the kids get back.

“I’m not getting advice from anyone – not over the phone, nothing. I’ve just had to go inside and wait. And I’ve got a few of the symptoms of coronavirus, like a sore throat and a cough. It’s escalated into a full-blown throaty cold, but it’s too early to tell. I won’t know whether the person I was in contact with had coronavirus for a few days.”

A spokesman for Public Health England said he would not comment on individual cases. But he said: “For certain individuals, it may be appropriate for them to be asked to self-isolate. These are proportionate and precautionary measures. Should they report symptoms, they will be assessed and offered testing in line with current guidance.

“Isolating yourself from other people, as you would with other flu viruses, is in step with the best scientific and expert advice on how to stop the coronavirus from spreading. This means taking simple, common sense steps such as staying at home and avoiding close contact with other people as much as possible. This is not unusual. There are several respiratory infections, such as flu, where we advise people to self-isolate to reduce the likelihood of the infection being spread.”