UK declares coronavirus a serious and imminent threat to public health
Britain has recorded four cases of coronavirus which has killed more than 900 globally
Coaches carrying British nationals flown out of the Chinese city of Wuhan arrive at Kents Hill Park where they are due to remain in quarantine for 14 days. Photograph: Getty
Britain on Monday said the number of confirmed coronavirus cases had doubled to eight as the government declared the virus a serious and imminent threat, giving it additional powers to isolate those suspected of being infected.
It has killed more than 900 people, most of them in China, and has spread to at least 27 countries and territories. The two deaths outside mainland China were in Hong Kong and the Philippines.
Four further patients in England have tested positive for #coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the UK to eight.— Department of Health and Social Care (@DHSCgovuk) February 10, 2020
The new cases are all known contacts of a previously confirmed UK case. The virus was passed on in France.
“Four further patients in England have tested positive for novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the UK to eight,” England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said.
The new cases were all known contacts of a previously confirmed British patient in France, and were identified by public health officials working to trace possible cases.
Health minister Matt Hancock declared the virus “a serious and imminent threat to public health”, a step that gives the government more powers to isolate people.
“We are strengthening our regulations so we can keep individuals in supported isolation for their own safety and if public health professionals consider they may be at risk of spreading the virus to other members of the public,” a health ministry spokesman said.
Arrowe Park Hospital, near Liverpool in northern England, and Kents Hill Park, in Milton Keynes, have been designated as isolation facilities. – Reuters