A FIRST case of coronavirus has been confirmed in East Sussex.

It was revealed the diagnosed patient had recently returned from a cruise.

East Sussex County Council confirmed the case in a statement, saying officials were working to stop the spread of the virus.

Alison Barnett, centre director for Public Health England South East, said: "Public Health England is contacting people who had close contact with the latest confirmed case of COVID-19.

"This case is a resident of East Sussex.

"Close contacts will be given health advice about symptoms and emergency contact details to use if they become unwell in the 14 days after contact with the confirmed case.

"This tried and tested method will ensure we are able to minimise any risk to them and the wider public.”

Darrell Gale, director of public health for East Sussex, said: "I’d like to reassure people that we are working with health colleagues to do everything we can to restrict and slow the spread of the virus and ensure the people of this county are protected.

"If you have not been contacted by Public Health England as a close contact of the confirmed case you do not need to take any action at this time."

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus.

The UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the public from low to moderate.

Health professionals are working to contact anyone who has been in close contact with people who have coronavirus.

The symptoms are a high temperature and a new, continuous cough.

Anyone with these symptoms is being told by the NHS to stay at home for seven days.

They should not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital, and do not need to contact 111. 

The health authority is advising people to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, always wash their hands when they get home or into work, use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available, cover their mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, put used tissues in the bin abd try to avoid close contact with people who feel unwell to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus.

Officials also warned people not to touch their eyes, nose or mouth if their hands were not clean.

Mr Gale said: "These are the same simple steps we all should be taking to avoid other illnesses such as flu which is also prevalent during the winter and it is important that residents help protect themselves and others.

"If you have symptoms associated with the coronavirus, either a high temperature or a new continuous cough, you should not go to A&E or your doctor but self-isolate yourself at home.

"You do not need to ring 111 to let them know.

"Contact the NHS online service if you feel you cannot cope at home, or if your condition gets worse or if your symptoms have not improved after seven days.

"Only ring NHS 111 if you cannot use the online service."