Coronavirus has now emerged in the UK according to the Department of Health, who revealed two people have tested positive for the deadly new virus. They are currently being treated in Newcastle, raising the alarm for some UK residents who fear the virus could spread further.
What does the UK outbreak mean for Britain?
The first coronavirus cases in Britain have come more than a month after the disease emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Experts have long predicted 2019-nCoV would eventually come to the UK, and it crossed into Europe last week.
Chris Whitty, the UK’s Chief Medical Officer, said the NHS is “extremely well prepared” for the disease.
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Speaking in an official statement, Dr Whitty said both patients were from the same family, and health workers were ensuring the disease could not spread further.
He said: “We can confirm that two patients in England, who are members of the same family, have tested positive for coronavirus.
“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 and the international community as the outbreak in China develops to ensure we are ready for all eventualities.”
So far, there is no indication the virus has spread into the rest of the country.
Public Health England (PHE) said the Chief Medical Officer would announce any other cases “as soon as possible”.
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Should you wear a face mask?
Since cases have not become widespread in the UK, officials have not stated there is a need to take urgent health precautions.
However, those who want to take extra steps to protect themselves can do so, and one option available to people is wearing a face mask.
The most effective masks are the N95 kind, which come equipped with air filters.
The masks filter out 95 percent of particles as small as 0.3 microns of air.
They come recommended for people who spend a lot of time around infected patients, including health workers in China.
Non-health officials may decide to opt for surgical masks, which are readily available but less effective.
Experts say the masks are too loose to provide comprehensive protection, and they come without air filters.
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