/Coronavirus fears in Scotland as two in hospital after China trip

Coronavirus fears in Scotland as two in hospital after China trip

Two travellers to Scotland from China are being treated in hospital amid fears over the spread of deadly coronavirus.

The patients were taken into isolation after reporting flu-like symptoms after entering the UK.

It is believed that the travellers came to Scotland from Wuhan, the Chinese city where the latest outbreak erupted, in the past week.

Initial tests have not been able to rule out coronavirus but senior doctors believed the timing of the flights and symptoms gave grounds to be optimistic that they were suffering from common flu.

One source said that the city’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital infection outbreak and control measures are in place around a ward where a patient was being treated in isolation.

Special measures would include staff wearing sterile suits and patients entering strict isolation, as well as monitoring the temperature of any patient.

The source said: “There was no doubt that the situation was being taken seriously because of the symptoms being displayed and the specific origin of travel. 

“The patient came through London to Glasgow and after the symptoms were flagged up no chances were taken.

“The tests that were carried out could not immediately isolate what the condition might be and it may take a bit longer to be absolutely sure what doctors are dealing with.

“Obviously they are erring on the side of caution in the meantime.”

(Image: Reuters)

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said the NHS is “ready to respond appropriately” to any cases of coronavirus that emerge in the UK.

In a statement to the Commons he said that while “there is an increased likelihood that cases may arise in this country, we are well prepared and well equipped to deal with them”.

On Wednesday night, China suspended all flights, including international services, out of Wuhan city – the epicentre of the virus outbreak.

Medical staff transfer a patient of a highly suspected case of a new coronavirus at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Hong Kong
(Image: Reuters)

Another city close to Wuhan, Huanggang, is also on lock-down as officials try to contain the spread of the virus.

Hancock told MPs there had been 571 cases of coronavirus and 17 deaths confirmed by the Chinese government.

He said: “This is a rapidly developing situation and the number of deaths and the number of cases is likely to be higher than those that have been confirmed so far, and I expect them to rise further.”

He told how cases of the virus have also been reported in Thailand, Japan, South Korea and the US.

Hancock said “most people” affected have experienced cold and flu symptoms, though some cases have proved fatal.

“We have been closely monitoring the situation in Wuhan and have put in place proportionate, precautionary measures,” he said.

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Public health bosses in Scotland are understood to have kept notified by copunterparts in England of all direct flights from Wuhan city. All passengers on direct flights from China were receiving information on what to do if they fall ill.

Hancock added: “The chief medical officer has revised the risk to the UK population from very low to low, and has concluded that while there is an increased likelihood that cases may arise in this country, we are well prepared and well equipped to deal with them.

“The UK is one of the first countries to develop a world-leading test for coronavirus, the NHS is ready to respond appropriately to any cases that emerge, clinicians in both primary and secondary care have already received advice covering initial detection and investigation of possible cases, infection control and diagnostics.

“The public can be assured that the whole of the UK is always well prepared for these type of outbreaks and we will remain vigilant and keep our response under constant review in light of emerging scientific evidence.”

Both the Scottish Government and Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board were asked for comment on the cases that have flagged up in Scotland to date. 

It is understood that senior officials were being consulted to sign off statements.

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