It was confirmed last Friday by the chief medical officer for England that two people have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK. The two Chinese nationals were located in York, but are now being treated at Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle. It has since emerged that one of them is a student at the University of York.
The university has said the student was not on campus or in student accommodation before or after exposure to the virus. Public Health England (PHE) said it was making “good progress” in tracing people who have come into close contact with the two Chinese nationals.
Also on Friday, 83 Britons were evacuated from Wuhan in China and are in quarantine for 14 days in Arrowe Park Hospital in Wirral.
The new coronavirus has caused the deaths of over 360 people. However, the numbers change daily and as at today’s date (3rd February), the virus has reached more than 17,000 people in China and penetrated 22 other countries, causing over 100 additional cases.
The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak is a new illness and scientists are still assessing how it spreads from person to person, but similar viruses tend to spread via cough and sneeze droplets. The virus can be spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Hand-washing is the first line of defence.
This is the advice given on how to protect yourself and others:
- Wash your hands: wet your hands with clean, running water and apply soap. Lather your hands, including the backs, between your fingers, and under your nails and scrub for at least 20 seconds. Rinse.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the bin and wash your hands. If you do not have a tissue to hand, cough or sneeze into your elbow rather than your hands.
- Face masks offer some protection as they block liquid droplets. However, they do not block smaller aerosol particles that can pass through the material of the mask. The masks also leave the eyes exposed and there is evidence that some viruses can infect a person through the eyes.
All the latest information and advice from the UK government can be found here.