Four people in Scotland are being tested for the suspected new coronavirus, the head of infection medicine at the University of Edinburgh has said.
China’s mystery new coronavirus has so far infected more than 570 people and killed 17, with the,
World Health Organisation set to meet for a second day to determine whether the outbreak should be,
categorised as an international health emergency.
Three of the suspected cases are in Edinburgh while the other is in Glasgow.
All four of the patients travelled to Scotland from Wuhan - the Chinese city where the virus is thought to have originated - in the past two weeks and were showing symptoms of respiratory problems, a key indicator of the virus.
Tests are being carried out on the patients but none have been confirmed as having the new coronavirus.
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Chinese cities on lockdown as officials try to stop coronavirus spreading
Professor Jurgen Haas, of the University of Edinburgh, said he believes there will be many more cases from other cities in the UK.
Professor Haas said the cases emerged overnight, adding: "The situation will be pretty similar in pretty much all UK cities with a large number of Chinese students.
"It's not too surprising. My suspicious is that there will probably be many more cases in many other cities in the UK. None of the cases I know of have been confirmed."
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the situation was being closely monitored, adding: "I should say, that the risk to the public here in Scotland - and indeed the UK - is currently classified as low but that is kept under review."
Nicola Sturgeon said she was monitoring the situation closely.
"Health Protection Scotland are liaising with NHS boards and are currently in daily contact with Public Health England, we’re also liaising daily with colleagues in the UK Department of Health – we’re also paying very close attention to the advice and the decisions that come from the World Health Organisation.”
See more on the WHO site - here
"Advanced monitoring measures are being put in place for flights between Wuhan City and Heathrow, that will involve each flight being met by a port health team who will check for coronavirus and provide information to all passengers.
"We’re currently considering whether there is any further information that could be provided at Scottish airports.
"This is an evolving situation which we will monitor extremely closely and the Health Secretary and,
I will make sure that Parliament is updated in the days and weeks to come.”
UK authorities had increased screening checks at Heathrow Airport on Wednesday for the,
three flights a week which enter the country from Wuhan.
Wuhan, in the eastern Chinese province of Hubei, has since been put on a travel lockdown, with no trains,
flights or long-journey bus trips leaving or entering the city where the new coronavirus is thought to have originated.
Other cities in the Hubei province have also been placed on lockdown as Chinese authorities attempt to halt the spread of the virus.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock had earlier delivered a statement to the House of Commons,
saying the UK was "well prepared" to deal with the threat of the new deadly disease.
It is believed the coronavirus originated at an animal food market in Wuhan, and is now possibly mutating and can spread from human-to-human.
There have been confirmed cases in the
- United States,
- Hong Kong,
- Macao and South Korea.
The disease has spread to 21 of China's 23 provinces, with only Gansu and Inner Mongolia with no reported cases.
University lecturer Michael Pattison, who has lived in Wuhan for 15 years, said the clampdown on travel has had a huge impact on people in the city.
What can you do to limit the risk of catching the new coronavirus?
The risk to the UK is currently low.
But anyone travelling to China and worried about catching the virus needs to take the basic hygiene precautions. Maria Van Kerkhove, acting head of emerging infectious diseases at the WHO, said:
“Coronaviruses typically cause respiratory symptoms so we recommend basic hand hygiene such as washing hands in soap and water and respiratory hygiene so when you sneeze, sneeze into your elbow.”
She cautioned against any unnecessary contact with live animals in China.Nick Phin, deputy director of the National Infection Service at Public Health England, added:
“Individuals should seek medical attention if they develop respiratory symptoms within 14 days of visiting Wuhan, either in China or on their return to the UK,
informing their health service prior to their attendance about their recent travel to the city.”
What advice has the UK government issued?
The government has not issued any travel or trade restrictions with China and says the risk to the UK is currently low and even the risk to travellers to Wuhan – a city of 11 million people – is also low.