In a 31 January statement, Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty confirmed two cases of novel coronavirus in England.
“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,” said Whitty.
Based on the World Health Organization’s declaration that this is a public health emergency of international concern, the UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the public from low to moderate. This permits the government to plan for all eventualities. The risk to individuals in the UK has not changed at this stage. Our advice for travellers from Wuhan remains unchanged from the below.
As of 31 January, a total of 177 UK tests have concluded, of which 175 were confirmed negative and 2 positive.
1,466 passengers and 95 staff arrived in the UK on direct flights from Wuhan between 10 and 24 January.
- 162 of the passengers have already left the UK
- 53 of the crew have already left the UK
- 866 are now outside of the incubation period
Public Health England are working to contact the remaining passengers.
“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,” he noted.
A team of public health experts has been established in Heathrow to support anyone travelling in from China who feels unwell. These hubs will bring in rotational teams of 7 clinicians, working in shifts, who will be on hand to support patients on arrival. This is in addition to medical staff who are already permanently in place at all UK airports and the advice issued to all UK airports for people travelling to and from China.
The government has issued clinical guidance for the detection and diagnosis of novel coronavirus (2019-nCov), and infection prevention and control.
UK residents are advised to check the Gov.UK information page for this outbreak regularly for up-to-date local guidance: Coronavirus: Latest Information and Advice