Coronavirus in the UK two patients held in 'infectious disease unit in Newcastle'

31 January 2020, 09:30

The first cases of the virus have been confirmed in the UK
The first cases of the virus have been confirmed in the UK. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Coronavirus in the UK has been confirmed after two patients tested positive for the virus as the outbreak is declared a global emergency.

Public Health England says the family members are receiving specialist NHS care, and tried and tested infection control procedures are in place.

Later today British citizens will land at RAF Brize Norton after being evacuated from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the epicentre of the outbreak.

Once they have arrived in the UK they will be quarantined for two weeks in an NHS facility in the Wirral.

The two patients who have tested positive for coronavirus in England are in a high consequence infectious disease unit in Newcastle, chief medical officer for England Professor Chris Whitty said.

An outbreak investigation team has been formed to trace anyone who has been in contact with the pair to prevent the illness from spreading.

In China, the virus has claimed 213 lives with 9,692 cases confirmed worldwide leading the World Health Organisation to declare a global public health emergency.

The figures show an increase of 1,981 cases and 81 deaths since Wednesday.

After several delays, the British evacuation flight - chartered by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) - left Wuhan at 9.45 am local time on Friday, carrying 83 Britons and 27 non-UK nationals, mostly from EU countries.

On Wednesday night, an apartment-hotel in Yorkshire was put on lockdown when a man, understood to be a Chinese national, was taken to hospital after falling ill.

The man, who was a guest at the Staycity Hotel in the centre of York, was taken to hospital, together with family members, by medics.

In a statement, Professor Chris Whitty the Chief Medical Officer, said: "We can confirm that two patients in England, who are members of the same family, have tested positive for coronavirus. The patients are receiving specialist NHS care, and we are using tried and tested infection control procedures to prevent further spread of the virus.

"The NHS is extremely well-prepared and used to managing infections and we are already working rapidly to identify any contacts the patients had, to prevent further spread.

"We have been preparing for UK cases of novel coronavirus and we have robust infection control measures in place to respond immediately. 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."