UK confirms two cases of coronavirus FILE PHOTO: Passengers wear face masks as they arrive at Terminal 4 of Heathrow Airport. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)
Eastern Eye Staff
TWO people in England have tested positive for coronavirus. Reports said patients are in Newcastle, where the NHS has one of its four designated treatment centres.
“We can confirm that two patients in England, who are members of the same family, have tested positive for coronavirus,” said England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty.
“The patients are receiving specialist NHS care, and we are using tried and tested infection control procedures to prevent further spread of the virus.”
He said the NHS was well-prepared to handle infections, and efforts were on in full swing to prevent further spread.
“We are continuing to work closely with the World Health Organization and the international community as the outbreak in China develops to ensure we are ready for all eventualities,” he said.
Whitty said that anyone in Britain who has returned from China in the last fortnight with coughs and colds should “self-isolate” for two weeks.
He stressed that the threat level in UK was raised in the UK—from low to moderate— because the epidemic in China was “spreading out of control”.
The UK would handle the threat, but coping with the disease was a “marathon not a sprint”, he noted.
“If people have come back from China with any symptoms they should self-isolate for 14 days,” he said. “We are being pragmatic, it’s a relatively subtle shift but it is significant.”
The UK had been on high alert for weeks, and more than 160 people tested for the virus proved negative.
Globally, 9,662 cases and 213 deaths have been reported so far. Whitty said the figures were “almost certainly an underestimate”.