Killer coronavirus has reached the UK, with two Brits struck down with the infection.
Here’s what you need to know…
Where are the infected people in the UK?
It’s unclear where the coronavirus victims are at the moment.
But it’s understood they will have been taken to one of the UK’s four high level isolation units.
These include the Royal Free in London, Royal Liverpool Hospital, Newcastle Hospital and Guy’s and St Thomas’ in London.
What precautions can I take again coronavirus?
The virus is transmitted between people in droplets from coughing and sneezing and touching or shaking hands.
One of the best ways to protect yourself from catching 2019-nCoV is to be aware of the symptoms, which include:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- High temperature
Most victims of the virus die from complications including pneumonia and swelling in the lungs.
It also causes swelling in the respiratory system, which can make it hard for the lungs to pass oxygen into the bloodstream – leading to organ failure and death.
Severe pneumonia can kill people by causing them to “drown” in the fluid flooding their lungs.
So far those who have died in China have been older or have a weakened immune system.
The best way to prevent catching any form of coronavirus is to practice good hygiene, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
It says that in order to reduce your risk of infection, you should:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds
- Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
If you have cold-like symptoms, you can help protect others by staying home when you are sick and avoiding contact with others.
You should also cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and sneeze then throw it away and wash your hands.
Cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces which you may have touched is also important.
If you have returned from Wuhan in the last 14 days:
- Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with other flu viruses
- Call NHS 111 to inform them of your recent travel to the city
If you are in Northern Ireland, call your GP.
Please follow this advice even if you do not have symptoms of the virus.
Should I wear a mask?
Chinese authorities have encouraged people to wear surgical masks to help stop the spread of the new virus.
But some infectious disease experts say that there’s little high-quality scientific evidence that proves the effectiveness of them outside of a clinical setting.
Instead they say that washing your hands and avoiding people who are ill is way more important than wearing a mask.
Will it spread?
Coronavirus is spread through coughing, sneezing and touching contaminated surfaces.
Since the new infection emerged a month ago, cases have rapidly soared and spread borders.
In recent weeks, the first human-to-human transmission in people who have never been to China have been confirmed.
The World Health Organisation declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
Experts say that it was “only a matter of time” before the deadly bug hit the UK and warn it could spread – but it’s hoped cases will be “very limited”.
Dr Michael Head, Senior Research Fellow in Global Health, University of Southampton, said: “The UK cases are unsurprising to see.
“Given the spread to other European and North American countries, it was really only a matter of time until the UK ended up with confirmed cases.
“Hopefully, as seen elsewhere, the case numbers will be very limited.
“The key concern will be if there is significant human to human transmission.”
What are the government doing?
Advanced monitoring at airports is being carried out on direct flights from China.
A team of public health experts have been established at Heathrow to support anyone who feels unwell.
This is in addition to medical staff who are already permanently based at all UK airports.
The government has issued clinical guidance for the detection and diagnosis and infection prevention and control.
The UK is now one of the first countries outside China to have a prototype specific laboratory test for this new disease.
Healthcare professionals who are contacted by a patient with symptoms following travel to Wuhan have been advised to submit samples to PHE for testing.
Individuals will be treated in isolation.