News Alerts

31 Jan 2020 | 12:35 PM UTC

UK: Two cases of 2019-nCoV confirmed January 31

United Kingdom News Alert

First two cases of coronavirus (2019-nCoV) confirmed in the UK January 31; further spread of the virus likely over the near term

TIMEFRAME expected from 1/31/2020, 12:00 AM until 1/31/2020, 11:59 PM (Europe/London). COUNTRY/REGION United Kingdom

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Event

On Friday, January 31, health officials have announced the first two confirmed cases of coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the UK. Both individuals are from the same family and remain isolated in a medical center in Newcastle, according to media reports. It has not yet been confirmed if the infected individuals traveled to Wuhan (Hubei province, China), where the virus originated.

Several airlines, notably including Air France, Air Canada, British Airways, and Lufthansa, have suspended all flights to China to prevent further spread of the virus.

Further international spread of the 2019-nCoV virus is to be expected over the coming days and weeks.

Context

The first case of 2019-nCoV was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan. Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

As of January 30, cases of the virus have been reported in Australia, Canada, Cambodia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates, the US, and Vietnam. Human-to-human transmission has been confirmed in Germany, Japan, the US, and Vietnam. Virus screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On January 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the ongoing novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak is a "public health emergency of international concern."

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries and consider rebooking options, if needed, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments. Individuals are advised to take precautionary measures to reduce their risk of contracting the virus:

  •  Avoid all contact with animals (dead or alive); avoid eating animal products that are undercooked; avoid all markets where animals are sold
  • Avoid all close contact with people displaying symptoms of the disease (e.g. difficulties breathing)
  • Frequently wash hands, wear a face mask
  • Individuals within China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to seek medical attention, avoid contact with other people, and wash hands regularly
  • Adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments
  • Travelers returning from China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid spreading the disease.  

 

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