/Coronavirus cases very likely in Wales

Coronavirus cases very likely in Wales

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The virus is causing severe lung disease

It is “very likely” that there will be cases of coronavirus in Wales, the chief medical officer for Wales has said.

Dr Frank Atherton said the news that two people in the UK had tested positive for the condition was “not very surprising” to doctors.

A flight carrying 83 British people and 27 foreign nationals from Wuhan in China landed in the UK earlier.

Dr Atherton said the country would be “ready” to deal with any cases.

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Dr Frank Atherton said Wales would be prepared for any cases of coronavirus

He said: “In light of the increasing number of cases in China and the declaration of a Public Health Emergency by the World Health Organization, the four UK chief medical officers consider it prudent for governments and the NHS to escalate planning and preparation in case of a more widespread outbreak.

“We are now recommending that all travellers who develop flu-like symptoms however mild, (these symptoms could be a fever, a cough, or difficulty breathing) within 14 days of returning from mainland China, should self-isolate at home immediately and call the NHS.”

Speaking to BBC Wales, he added: “We have been saying for some time that it’s very likely we’ll see cases in the UK.

“The news today that we have got a couple of cases identified in England isn’t very surprising.

“We know that the virus is spreading very rapidly in China, so it’s quite likely that we will see some cases in Wales and the rest of the UK.”

Learn more about the new virus

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The World Health Organization declared the outbreak a global emergency on Thursday.

The number of coronavirus cases worldwide has now surpassed that of the Sars epidemic, which spread to more than two dozen countries in 2003.

The mortality rate for the new strain of coronavirus is currently low, at 2% – less than Sars at 10% and Ebola at 70%, the chief medical officer says.

But the death rate could yet go up if more of those in hospital die, or down if it’s discovered there are many other people with mild symptoms.

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