‘Increasingly Likely’ There Will Be Cases of Chinese Coronavirus in UK: Health Secretary

A woman with a face mask walks in a shop decorated for the Chinese Lunar New Year in Bangkok on January 24, 2020, after four people were detected with the Coronavirus in Thailand. (Photo by Mladen ANTONOV / AFP) (Photo by MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP via Getty Images)
MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP via Getty Images

Health secretary Matt Hancock has warned that it is “increasingly likely” there will be a UK case of coronavirus, after the number of people being tested for the Chinese-origin virus rises from four to 14.

On Thursday night, authorities confirmed that four people, believed to be students who had returned recently from China, were being tested for the virus in Scotland. That number had increased to 14, reports The Times.

University towns with Chinese student populations are most at risk of being the source of any outbreaks, with Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock saying that he was working with Universities UK “to make sure the message gets to students directly”.

The health minister quoted chief medical officer Chris Whitty, saying that there is “an increasing likelihood that cases may arise in this country”.

“The challenge is that symptoms for the Wuhan novel coronavirus do not usually appear until five to seven days, and sometimes up to 14 days, after a person has been infected, and therefore the advice is that the most important part of the monitoring is to ensure that everybody knows what to do if the symptoms arise,” Mr Hancock warned.

There are believed to be some 2,000 people who have recently travelled from China to the UK. No cases have yet been confirmed in Britain.

The virus originated in Wuhan city, the capital of the Hubei province of China, with 830 confirmed cases in China. There are also 28 total confirmed cases in South Korea, the United States, Vietnam, Japan, Macao, Taiwan, Thailand, and Singapore. The global death toll has also risen to 26, according to The Telegraph.

China has put travel restrictions on 14 cities, home to tens of millions of people, including Wuhan, a city of 11 million.

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