Coronavirus all-clear for 14 UK patients but more people being tested

Coronavirus all-clear for 14 UK patients but more people being tested

Tests for coronavirus on 14 people in the UK have come back negative but there are checks ongoing on other people, according to the Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty.

Mr Whitty spoke following a meeting of the Government's Cobra emergency committee in Whitehall, chaired by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

All the people tested in the UK had visited Wuhan – the Chinese city where the outbreak originated.

It comes after a second person tested positive for coronavirus in the US, with a man being diagnosed in Illinois, Chicago.

In a statement, Mr Whitty said: "I am working closely with the other UK chief medical officers.

"We all agree that the risk to the UK public remains low, but there may well be cases in the UK at some stage.

"We have tried and tested measures in place to respond. The UK is well-prepared for these types of incidents, with excellent readiness against infectious diseases.

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"We have global experts monitoring the situation around the clock and have a strong track record of managing new forms of infectious disease.

"The UK has access to some of the best infectious disease and public health experts in the world.

"A public health hub will be set up in Heathrow from today. This consists of clinicians and other public health officials, in addition to existing port health measures."

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One of those cleared in the UK was Michael Hope, 45, who spent two days in quarantine this week after returning to Newcastle from Wuhan, where the outbreak started.

Yesterday it emerged six people in the UK, believed to be Chinese nationals, were being tested for the bug after returning from the Wuhan region.

Two were in Glasgow, one in ­Edinburgh and two more in ­undisclosed areas of Scotland.

At least one is thought to have flown in via London. Another suspected case was in Belfast.

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It is also being reported that a desperate hunt is now under way for 2,000 recent arrivals in the UK from China. They all arrived in Britain within the last two weeks.

Mr Hancock has insisted Britain can cope with any outbreak.

The warning about an epidemic here was issued after 26 deaths were confirmed in China.

Officials put the city of 11 million people in lockdown, amid fears of a global pandemic – as ­thousands of people may be infected who do not yet have symptoms.

There are around 120,000 Chinese students in the UK. University of ­Edinburgh head of infection Professor Jurgen Haas warned the suspected cases so far could be the first of many.

He added: “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.”

A Scottish government spokesman said yesterday: “Following travel to Wuhan, China, two people confirmed as diagnosed with ­influenza are now being tested for Wuhan novel coronavirus as a precautionary measure only.

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