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Latest on Coronavirus Outbreak

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As the novel coronavirus, that originated in Wuhan, China continues its global march, the first two cases have been confirmed in the UK. This brings the number of affected countries to 24, although all 213 deaths have thus far been isolated to China.

Prof Paul Hunter, Professor in Medicine, University of East Anglia, said “The report of the first two cases diagnosed positive for 2019-nCoV in the UK is not surprising and was almost inevitable. The Chief Medical Officer’s statement gives no information on where these two members of the same family acquired their infection. The two cases are members of the same family, but no information has been released about whether both cases will have been infected simultaneously or whether one would have passed the infection to the other.”

He continued “The NHS is well able to nurse people with this novel coronavirus as it has successfully and safely managed a number of cases of both SARS and MERS in the past. With the information available it is not possible to judge what risk if any there may be of spread within the community.”

This video from the journal Nature highlights key facts about the outbreak and this novel corona virus.

British officials are currently in the process of repatriating 83 Britons and 27 foreign nationals trapped in China following the country’s lock down. Those on board this flight will be quarantined at Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral for two weeks, the apparent possible incubation period for the infection, to monitor for the development of disease.

This follows an announcement yesterday by the World Health Organization (WHO), following a meeting of the Emergency Committee who now agree that the outbreak now meets the criteria for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. WHO are coordinating global research efforts, with scientists working around the clock across the world to improve understanding of this virus. This has included the completion of whole genome sequencing of the causative virus. With this information, researchers have been able to make effective diagnostic tests available and expedite the development of a vaccine.

To keep up to date with the spread of the virus with this outbreak tracker from researchers at John Hopkins University.

Meet the Author
Karen Steward PhD
Karen Steward PhD
Senior Science Writer