The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has infected nearly 10,000 people worldwide, two of which are in the UK. On Friday, January 31, health officials warned two members of the same family contracted the deadly coronavirus strain.
The coronavirus patients were both staying at a Staycity apartment-hotel in York where a Chinese man was also taken to hospital after falling ill.
Although a link between the two cases has not been confirmed, fears are on the rise of a coronavirus pandemic.
Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, said on Friday the two patients were receiving specialist care.
He said: “We have been preparing for UK cases of novel coronavirus and we have robust infection control measures in place to respond immediately.
“We are continuing to work closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the international community as the outbreak in China develops to ensure we are ready for all eventualities.”
Novel coronavirus attacks its host by triggering pneumonia-like symptoms that could lead to death if untreated.
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6.15pm GMT – Friday, January 31
So far, health authorities have only confirmed two cases of the deadly pathogen in the UK.
Two members of the same family were taken for treatment at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.
There are, however, concerns a plane full of British nationals arriving in the UK today from Wuhan, China, could add further fuel to the fire.
A total of 83 Britons landed at RAF Brize Norton today around 1.30pm GMT and were taken to Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral.
The British travellers to China will be quarantined for two weeks to spot any signs of infection.
We have been preparing for UK cases of novel coronavirus
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the novel coronavirus strain takes between two to 10 days to incubate symptoms.
Ben Williams who was forced to leave his Chinese wife behind and come to the UK, said: “By the time we got out the door it was very much a close call to get to the meeting point to get on this flight.
“Sadly, my wife has nothing prepared and it wasn’t right for her to enter the UK with essentially nothing.”
After landing, he added: “It’s quite mellow to be honest. Everyone’s got quite used to wearing face masks and trying their best to do deep cleans.”
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How many countries are infected with the coronavirus?
6.15pm GMT – Friday, January 31
The novel coronavirus first appeared in China’s Wuhan City, Hubei Province, in December last year.
The epidemic has since spread to surrounding areas and the rest of the country, putting Chinese health officials on high alert.
On Friday, January 31, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the epidemic a “global emergency”.
Together with the UK, there are a total of 24 countries where the disease has been confirmed.
In Europe, the countries are: the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Finland.
In Asia, the countries are: China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Nepal, Sri Lanka, India, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Macau and South Korea.
The coronavirus has also infected patients in the US, Canada, Australia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia.
The WHO said: “It is expected that further international exportation of cases may appear in any country.
“Thus, all countries should be prepared for containment, including active surveillance, early detection, isolation and case management, contact tracing and prevention of onward spread of 2019-nCoV infection, and to share full data with WHO.”
The WHO said all countries are legally required to report cases of the virus.