January 20, 2020 / 1:27 PM / 2 months ago

Risk to UK of new coronavirus is currently 'very low' - infection service

LONDON (Reuters) - The current risk to the United Kingdom from an outbreak of a new coronavirus in China is very low, the national infection service said on Monday.

“Based on the available evidence, the current risk to the UK is very low,” Dr Nick Phin, the deputy director of the National Infection Service, said. “We are working with the WHO and other international partners, have issued advice to the NHS and are keeping the situation under constant review.”

An outbreak of a new coronavirus has spread to more Chinese cities, including the capital Beijing and Shanghai, officials said on Monday, and a fourth case has been reported beyond China’s borders.

“People traveling to Wuhan should maintain good hand, respiratory and personal hygiene and should seek medical attention if they develop respiratory symptoms within 14 days of visiting the area,” Phin said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said curbing the outbreak and saving lives was a top priority as the number of patients more than tripled and a third person died.

Adding to the difficulties of containing the virus, hundreds of millions of Chinese will be traveling domestically and abroad during the Lunar New Year holiday that starts this week.

Authorities around the globe, including in the United States and many Asian countries, have stepped up screening of travelers from Wuhan, the central city where the virus was first discovered.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Kate Holton

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