Coronavirus UK: More than 7,000 tests have been carried out in the UK
Coronavirus cases outside China are rapidly increasing. Several European countries have announced their first cases this week with Italy confirming more than 350 cases of the deadly virus.
In the UK, several schools have closed after pupils returned from skiing trips in northern Italy.
As of 2pm on Wednesday, 7,132 tests for the virus had been carried out in the UK.
Only 13 have so far come back positive, including four people who returned from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.
In total, there have been more than 80,000 cases of coronavirus confirmed across the world, mainly in China.
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Is there a cure for coronavirus?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for the coronavirus at the moment, although scientists are racing to develop a vaccine.
Vaccines often require lengthy testing on thousands of people before they are allowed to be used by officials.
However, there are human trials for one potential vaccine due to start in six weeks in the US.
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Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, in the US, said: “You’re talking about a year to a year and a half before any vaccine would be ready for widespread use.”
The fatality rate is around two percent in the epicentre of the outbreak, Hubei province, and less than that elsewhere.
For comparison, seasonal flu typically has a mortality rate below one percent.
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”The people who are dying who require intensive care, for example in an intensive care unit – maybe even intubation for respiratory assistance in breathing – the Chinese have that.
“They have a pretty good system, and yet you’re still seeing the 2 percent mortality…
“So if, in fact, we do get a pandemic that does impact us in this country, I think you’re going to see comparable types of morbidity and mortality.”
How to test for coronavirus
In the UK, people being tested for coronavirus have been extended to include people displaying flu-like symptoms at 100 GP surgeries and eight hospitals across Britain.
Public Health England said the tests would provide an “early warning” if the virus was spreading.
This could mean hundreds more people will be tested for coronavirus each week.
The NHS has started pilots of home testing for coronavirus where NHS staff, including nurses and paramedics, will visit people in their own homes rather than them having to travel.
“Anyone who is concerned they have signs and symptoms, should continue to use NHS 111 as their first point of contact – they will tell you what you exactly what you need to do and where necessary, the right place to be tested.
“People should also play their part by following public health advice – wash your hands, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when you cough or sneeze, and put used tissues in the bin immediately.
“I would also like to thank the NHS staff who are back in Arrowe Park ready to provide excellent care and support to the British nationals who are returning from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.”
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