23:48 GMT22 February 2020
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    2020 Coronavirus Outbreak (164)

    At least 2,700 cases of the previously unknown coronavirus, originating in China’s Wuhan city, have already been confirmed in the East Asian country, while as many as 80 people have died from the infection. With thousands of people having travelled to and from China during the past month, global health authorities are on the alert.

    Dr Yvonne Doyle, a medical director and director for health protection at Public Health England, did not reject the assumptions that there could already have been cases of coronavirus infections in the UK, despite no one having been officially diagnosed, but insisted that the country was “well prepared” for a potential outbreak of the virus.

    “We are learning a lot about the virus, we are well prepared”, Dr Doyle told Sky News host Kay Burley when asked about how British authorities were addressing the possibility of the virus spreading to the country, as a large number of tourists and British citizens have been travelling from China over the last couple of weeks.

    The medical director insisted that Britain has a plan to track those who arrive from Wuhan and other parts of China, adding that although it is not “always possible to find everybody”, the health authorities are making their “best endeavours”.

    “The most likely place that we may find the case is someone who is in the country already”, the medical chief argued. She also said that the NHS was being prepared to deal with potential cases of the Wuhan virus.

    According to the official, the best way to protect yourself from infection is to follow basic rules of personal hygiene and “keep your hands clean”.

    At least 80 deaths have already been reported in China following the outbreak of the previously unknown strain of pneumonia, with thousands of cases of infection having been confirmed. Wuhan city’s borders have now been temporarily closed, with some travel restrictions also being applied to other cities and provinces. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus have also been identified in multiple other countries, including Thailand, Australia, Vietnam, South Korea, and the United States.

    2020 Coronavirus Outbreak (164)
    Public Health England, Wuhan, National Health Service (NHS), China, United Kingdom, coronavirus
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