THE RISK of coronavirus in Bradford district “remains low”, health chiefs revealed in their latest board meeting.

Directors confirmed there is still only one confirmed case in the area with covid-19 remaining in the 'containment stage'.

An Ilkley woman, who tested positive at the start of March, is currently self-isolating after falling ill on a family holiday in Northern Italy.

The health chiefs laid out their response to the challenges they face when combatting the cycle of coronavirus with a representative for Public Health England warning the biggest problem is that it has similar symptoms to illnesses that often affect people at this time of year.

The total number of confirmed cases in Yorkshire currently stands at 12 - five of those are in neighbouring city, Leeds.

There has been a total of six deaths in the UK so far.

Sarah Muckle, director of Public Health for Bradford, explained: "We are at six deaths. We are still swabbing. Public Health are still dealing with each case and they are still doing contact tracing.

"We've seen in Italy cases are increasing quite quickly now. In Bradford we are still in the containment stage. We still have only one case.

"The case in question did everything. They did self isolate, they did get themselves to drive-through testing, the ambulance response went really well. The person knew exactly what to do and that's reassuring for us to know what we've put in place is working.

"The risk still remains quite low."

Advice offered at the meeting included washing your hands thoroughly, no shaking hands and keeping a distance between yourself and other people.

But the key thing now for health chiefs is to stop the spread of misinformation on social media and keep everyone informed with the facts.

Liz Allen, strategic director of organisation effectiveness for Bradford district and Craven CCGs, said: "A lot of work needs to be done with communication. There's a lot we need to get right about the messages."

Public Health England backed the claim and urged hospital staff and representatives to share messages from its official social media account and no other sources.

Doctors also set the record straight about why some GP surgeries have temporarily stopped the booking of online appointments.

Among the practices affected are: Parklands Medical Practice, Park Road and Picton Medical Centre, Whetley Medical Centre, Leylands Medical Centre, Wrose Health Centre, Heaton Medical Practice, Thornbury Medical Centre, Manor Medical Practice branches in Girlington and Allerton and Ashcroft Surgery.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Dr James Thomas, clinical chair at NHS Bradford district and Craven CCGs and a local GP, said it is so people can be asked a few questions to ensure it is safe for them to attend face-to-face and sometimes staff may not be able to book online and ask those questions. Patients can still speak with their doctor online.

He added: "We are well prepared to deal with ongoing concerns around the potential spread of coronavirus and we ask that everyone follows national advice to ensure they keep themselves and their families safe.

“Due to concerns around coronavirus (also known as COVID-19), the way that patients can access appointments at their practice may change over the coming days and/or weeks. This will make sure that we can protect our patients and staff.

“Anyone calling to book a GP appointment may be asked a few quick questions to ensure it is safe for you to attend face-to-face, as well as safe for other patients and practice staff.

“The reason that people may not be able to book appointments online is that it is not possible to ask these quick questions before they proceed to book.

“You can find out more about how to book an appointment at your GP practice by visiting the practice’s website or giving the practice a call."

Read more: Coronavirus: Online appointments stopped at two more Bradford medical centres

How exactly is the NHS dealing with coronavirus? 

Liz Allen, strategic director of organisation effectiveness for Bradford district and Craven CCGs, has offered her insight.

She explained: "We're co-ordinating across the patch with our partners in Craven. You will be aware that the process is anyone who thinks they may have covid-19, they contact 111, online or over the phone.

"They may be advised to self isolate. They will be tested at home.

"What we need to do is to protect frontline services.

"We've asked our clinicians in our CCG to volunteer to get involved in the testing and the swabbing.

"All our staff who have volunteered need to be trained up in personal protection, equipment.

"That's what we are doing now with our CCGs in the hospital trust.

"The other thing we're doing is working towards a West Yorkshire and Harrogate central co-ordinating service, rather than everybody doing something in their own places."

What should you do if you suspect you have coronavirus?

If you are worried that you have coronavirus, stay at home and visit or call 111 if you do not have access to the internet.

Do not visit your GP practice, pharmacy or hospital.

People can search online for ‘NHS coronavirus’ to find the latest trusted advice and information.