Third Bri­ton tests pos­i­tive for coro­n­avirus

The Daily Telegraph - - Front page - Health Cor­re­spon­dent By Henry Bod­kin

CORO­N­AVIRUS has been di­ag­nosed in a third Bri­tish vic­tim, re­ported to have trav­elled to the UK from Sin­ga­pore, as those who re­cently re­turned from nine Asian coun­tries were ad­vised to iso­late them­selves.

In a sig­nif­i­cant es­ca­la­tion of the cri­sis, doc­tors were last night or­dered to watch for symp­toms in trav­ellers from across Asia af­ter the first UK case to orig­i­nate from out­side main­land China.

It fol­lowed con­fir­ma­tion of the virus in a man who went to A&E in Brighton on Sun­day af­ter fall­ing ill. Last night, he was trans­ferred from the Royal Sus­sex Hospi­tal to a se­cure unit run by Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foun­da­tion Trust in Lon­don af­ter tests proved pos­i­tive.

Peo­ple re­turn­ing from nine coun­tries or ter­ri­to­ries are be­ing urged to iso­late them­selves and call NHS 111 if they showed any symp­toms of coro­n­avirus.

Prof Chris Whitty, chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer for Eng­land, said tourists who had been to China, Thai­land, Ja­pan, South

Korea, Hong Kong, Tai­wan, Sin­ga­pore, Malaysia or Ma­cau in the past fort­night should be on high alert. The Depart­ment of Health and So­cial Care said it demon­strated the dan­ger from the re­gion as a whole was in­creas­ing.

It fol­lowed those of two Chi­nese na­tion­als who went down with the virus in York last week and were still be­ing treated in New­cas­tle. Prof Whitty said: “We knew this ratchet-up might well

hap­pen and this is the mo­ment where we feel it’s pru­dent. What we have is a sit­u­a­tion where a very high risk re­mains in Wuhan and Hubei, high risk in the rest of China but much lower than in Wuhan and Hubei, and a much smaller risk in a num­ber of coun­tries.

“Un­sur­pris­ingly, coun­tries where the great­est risk is in terms of new cases are the ones that have the great­est in­ter­na­tional traf­fic with China, and that is ex­actly as you would ex­pect.”

Twenty-four cases of coro­n­avirus and one death from the dis­ease were con­firmed in Hong Kong, which this week an­nounced blanket quar­an­tin­ing of vis­i­tors from the main­land.

Mean­while, Tai­wan suf­fered 16 con­firmed cases, South Korea 23, Ja­pan 45, the Philip­pines two with one death, and Thai­land 25.

Prof Paul Cos­ford, med­i­cal di­rec­tor for Pub­lic Health Eng­land, said the agency was try­ing to trace peo­ple with whom the lat­est UK pa­tient might have been in con­tact. How­ever, he sug­gested of­fi­cials were not con­cerned about trac­ing pas­sen­gers on any Asi­auk flights the pa­tient may have taken.

Ear­lier, the Chi­nese am­bas­sador to Bri­tain warned against “ru­mours and panic” over coro­n­avirus af­ter con­cerns were raised that Boris John­son had not of­fered a per­sonal mes­sage of sup­port to China’s lead­ers. Speak­ing to re­porters in Lon­don, Liu Xiaom­ing said: “It is of hope that gov­ern­ments of all coun­tries, in­clud­ing the UK, should un­der­stand and sup­port China’s ef­forts, avoid over­re­ac­tion, avoid cre­at­ing panic, and en­sure nor­mal co-op­er­a­tion and ex­changes be­tween coun­tries.”

Prof Whitty said he ex­pected fur­ther cases of coro­n­avirus in the UK but that the scale of Bri­tain’s exposure was largely in the hands of China.

“Clearly, if this out­break in China rolls out of the abil­ity of the Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties to hold it and it starts spread­ing ev­ery­where in the world, then in due course there is a rea­son­able chance it will come to the UK in such large num­bers,” he said.

All NHS hos­pi­tals in Eng­land have been or­dered to create se­cure pods to as­sess pa­tients with sus­pected coro­n­avirus to pre­vent A&E de­part­ments be­com­ing the front line for sus­pected cases. Mean­while the For­eign Of­fice has ad­vised Bri­tons in China to leave if able.

The UK Gov­ern­ment is char­ter­ing a fi­nal flight to bring Bri­tish na­tion­als back from coro­n­avirus-hit Wuhan.

The plane was ex­pected to leave early on Sun­day and was sched­uled to land at RAF Brize Nor­ton, the For­eign Of­fice said – adding that it wanted to en­sure that all Bri­tish na­tion­als in Hubei province con­tacted the For­eign Of­fice to reg­is­ter their names if they wanted to leave on the flight.

The Royal Sus­sex County Hospi­tal in Brighton where a third per­son tested pos­i­tive

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