THIRTY doctors are in isolation after coming into contact with a GP who tested positive for coronavirus, according to a frontline clinician working to stem the outbreak in the city.

It is believed Public Health England told them to self-isolate following a healthcare meeting attended by the infected GP and dozens of other doctors.

The Argus became aware of the situation after patients at Charter Medical Centre in Hove were told only four of the practice’s 12 doctors were working on Monday morning because the rest of the staff were off sick.

The head of the practice said she could not respond to The Argus’s request for comment.

Last week, two doctors – one at County Oak Medical Centre in Brighton, and another who worked at Worthing A&E, tested positive for the virus.

The GP who attended the meeting the week before last, a Clinical Commissioning Group summit at Hove Town Hall, is believed to be one of the two doctors.

Last week, the council ordered a deep-clean of the room where the CCG meeting took place after learning the GP had been present.

>> READ MORE: Council press briefing took place after someone with coronavirus had been in room

Speaking anonymously, a clinician tasked with handling the outbreak of coronavirus in Brighton said he was “shocked” by the risks he said had been taken in this latest round of self-isolation, and the way the information has been withheld from the public.

>> READ MORE: Coronavirus clinician slams 'shambolic' handling of outbreak in Brighton

He said: “There are 30 doctors in isolation after coming into contact with a GP who tested positive for coronavirus at the CCG meeting. Public Health England told them to self-isolate. This is a risk. There would have been a day or two in between them coming into contact with the GP with coronavirus and being traced and told to self-isolate.”

Public Health England has said all five people who had the virus in Brighton have now recovered and been discharged.

The Argus has learned a nurse who spoke to the paper about her harrowing experience of self-isolation, an eight-month-old baby who was suspected of having coronavirus in Worthing, and a University of Sussex student taken to hospital by ambulance on Monday have all tested negative for the virus.

>> READ MORE: Nurse in coronavirus self-isolation speaks out against alleged mismanagement

A spokesman for Brighton and Hove CCG said there have been no new cases in the city for more than a week. He said: “All doctors and other primary care health workers in Brighton and Hove who were advised to “self isolate” as a precaution are expected to be returning to work this week.”

But the clinician said: “I’m just shocked at that statement. I can’t believe they are being allowed to go to be back at work so soon. Is their coming out of self-isolation based on not showing symptoms, or tests? Because as far as I know, I can’t confirm they’re even on a list to be tested. If we don’t test every one of these healthcare workers, we’re going to really struggle.

“We need the confidence that tests have been done. Not showing symptoms in not empirical evidence that they do not have the virus.

“We need to make sure local representatives of the CCG are not misleading us with false reassurance. The CCG seems more concerned about spinning the positives than telling people the truth.”

The Argus approached the CCG and Public Health England, but neither would confirm how many doctors are in self-isolation, and PHE did not respond to our request for comment.

The clinician said: “Since we last spoke, the authorities have kept a much tighter grip on this kind of information. It’s all being controlled by Public Health England’s microbiology department and NHS 111.

“They’re keeping a tight reign on information, not even letting frontline staff know. If this is the way they’re planning on dealing with it, we’re just going to have to work within these limits and do whatever we can to stop the spread of the virus.

“The more the public are informed the more they are armed, and the more we can defend ourselves.”