Coronavirus cases have nearly hit 25,000 as of February 5, with most infections contained within China’s borders. However, the nature of the virus meant some cases slipped out under the radar, and have now spread over 20 other countries.
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Coronavirus cases have numbered the highest in China, which has reported a total of 24,405, according to a John-Hopkins led online dashboard tracking the disease.
Of those cases, 15 have come to Europe, and two to the UK as the Government welcomes back people trapped abroad due to the quarantine in Wuhan.
Officials worked quickly to keep those diagnosed with the disease out of contact with the rest of the public.
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Coronavirus cases in Europe forced the UK’s Chief Medical Officers to raise the public health risk from low to moderate.
However, according to the NHS, the risk of transmission in the UK is low.
Professor Chris Whitty, the Government’s Chief Medical Officer, said the NHS is prepared to deal with the potential strain from the coronavirus.
In an official statement, the professor declared the NHS has “robust infection control measures” in place to combat potential outbreaks.
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He said: “The patients are receiving specialist NHS care, and we are using tried and tested infection control procedures to prevent further spread of the virus.
“The NHS is extremely well-prepared and used to managing infections and we are already working rapidly to identify any contacts the patients had, to prevent further spread.
“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 Organisation (WHO) and the international community as the outbreak in China develops to ensure we are ready for all eventualities.”
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As cases have increased, the Government has updated its travel advice for China via the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
According to the FCO, people should get out of China while they can, and avoid all travel to the area.
Two planeloads of people recently returned to the UK on government-chartered flights from Wuhan, as the Chinese government quarantined the city at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak.
Returning British citizens are being held in quarantine at Arrowe Park hospital on the Wirral.
In preparation for future cases, the NHS announced hospitals in England will create “priority assessment pods” for potential coronavirus patients.
The measure is intended to prevent suspected coronavirus cases spreading to vulnerable patients.
The NHS announced it expects the new measures to be in place by Friday this week.
They urge people who suspect they may have cases of the virus to “self-quarantine” and call 111.