Britain reports first two cases of new coronavirus

People wearing face masks are pictured in London January 31, 2020. — Reuters pic
People wearing face masks are pictured in London January 31, 2020. — Reuters pic

LONDON, Jan 31 — Two patients from the same family in England have tested positive for coronavirus, the first such cases in Britain, England’s chief medical officer said today.

British health officials had previously warned that the United Kingdom was highly likely to have cases of the new type of coronavirus, which first emerged in China’s central province of Hubei and has killed 213 people so far.

“The patients are receiving specialist National Health Service care, and we are using tried and tested infection control procedures to prevent further spread of the virus,” England’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, said.

“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,” he added.

Whitty said he would not reveal where in England the infection had occurred, to protect patient confidentiality.

Yesterday, Britain raised the perceived risk level to the country from an outbreak of coronavirus in China to moderate from low after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a global health emergency.

A plane carrying 83 British and 27 foreign nationals from Wuhan, the capital of Hubei, is due to arrive in Britain later on Friday with those returning quarantined for 14 days at a National Health Service facility in northwest England. — Reuters

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