DELAYS in informing patients about yesterday's GP closure has been criticised after creating "undue panic and stress" amongst thousands of residents.

Boundary House Surgery in Mount Lane was forced to close yesterday morning (February 11) over a suspected coronavirus case after a patient came back from Thailand on Monday night.

RELATED: All the latest on the GP closure amid 'coronavirus' concerns

The GP surgery was closed for a  "deep cleaned", but residents only found this information out until late afternoon, sending coronavirus rumours into "overdrive".

Healtwatch Bracknell Forest has hit out at health officials over the delay in communications.

They said: "We will be raising the issues of the delayed communication with the relevant agencies but it is important to be aware that, in this particular circumstance, the surgery had to get communications agreed by other agencies such as NHS England.

"The surgery were being proactive to obtain this authorisation. Communications must also protect the patient involved's confidentiality.

Mark John, who runs a Facebook Page of more than 30,000 members in Bracknell, witnessed a lot of residents panicking and stressing over the fact the killer virus could be in their hometown.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: what are the symptoms and can it be treated

He said: "We can mock and ridicule ‘people’ for being so dramatic, but why shouldn’t we expect a bit of leadership and communication?

Local Berkshire:

"It’s human nature to worry about the spread of a virus. A simple mention that a person had entered the surgery the day before presenting possible symptoms and that the surgery was closed for deep cleaning as a precaution would have given a sense of proportion."

The Bracknell resident criticised health authorities for not acting fast enough in sending out information, particularly noting how they avoided using the word coronavirus.

ALSO READ: Boundary House Surgery in Bracknell is closed today

Mr John added: "At one point some people were adamant numerous surgeries were closing and that the walk-in centre was affected, which as far as I know was untrue.

"I think people need to have a sense of proportion when something highly sensitive like this happens, and by trying to baby the public from mentioning certain details you actually have the opposite effect and send the rumour mills into overdrive.

"They avoided mentioning coronavirus, but people figured it out anyway only they still don’t know how aware to be of its potential spread locally."

Public Health England said: "The risk to the public remains moderate and we have carried out risk assessments with the confirmed cases for the purpose of our contact tracing.

"If people haven't been contacted by PHE, they don't need to take any action."

Boundary House Surgery posted a statement late afternoon to say a patient returning from their travels in Thailand had visited the premises.

Dr Jeremy Mellins, Partner at Boundary House GP Surgery, said in a statement 'the patient was seen at the practice on Monday, February 10, and as a precautionary measure the practice was closed for a deep clean'.

Click here for the full statement

A spokesman for the Forest Health Group said today that the surgery is looking to open its doors again by this afternoon.