Tuesday , March 2 2021

Four people in Scotland 'being tested for coronavirus' – The Guardian, Theguardian.com

Four people in Scotland are being tested for suspected coronavirus after traveling to the country from Wuhan in China, according to the head of infection medicine at the University of Edinburgh .

Prof Jürgen Haas said he believed there would be many more cases from other cities in the UK. He said three cases were in Edinburgh and the other was thought to be in Glasgow .

Tests are being carried out and none of the patients have yet been confirmed as having the disease. They all traveled to Scotland from Wuhan, where the outbreak is thought to have originated , within the past two weeks and are showing symptoms of respiratory trouble – a red flag for the virus.

Haas said: “We have currently three cases of suspected Wuhan coronavirus in Edinburgh and, as far as I understand, one case in Glasgow.”

He said the cases emerged overnight, adding: “The situation will be pretty similar in pretty much all UK cities with a large number of Chinese students. It’s not too surprising. My suspicion is that there will probably be many more cases in many other cities in the UK.

“None of the cases I know of have been confirmed,” he added.

Guardian graphic.

Haas said there was only one laboratory testing for the virus, operated by Public Health England, and that the cases had been flagged up through the PHE infection guidelines as they had traveled to Wuhan within the last days and are showing signs of respiratory symptoms.

Earlier in the day, the health secretary, Matt Hancock , told MPs there was an increased likelihood that the coronavirus causing illness and deaths in China would arrive in the UK, but said the authorities were well-prepared and would remain vigilant.

There are cases and 20 deaths confirmed so far by the Chinese government, Hancock said in a statement to the House of Commons, but those numbers were predicted to increase.

“This is a rapidly developing situation and the number of deaths and the number of cases is likely to be higher than those that have been confirmed so far and I expect them to rise,” he said.

What is the virus causing illness in Wuhan?

It’s a member of the coronavirus family that has never been encountered before. Like other coronaviruses, it has come from animals, or possibly seafood. New and troubling viruses usually originate in animal hosts. Ebola and flu are examples.

What other coronaviruses have there been?

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (Mers) are both caused by coronaviruses that came from animals. Chinese authorities initially played Sars cases down, and were subsequently much criticized because the virus spread virtually unchecked to 90 Countries causing global panic, infecting more than 8, (people and killing more than . Mers appears to be less easily passed from human to human, but has greater lethality, killing (% of about 2, people who have been infected.

What are the symptoms caused by the Wuhan coronavirus?

The virus causes pneumonia. Those who have fallen ill are reported to suffer coughs, fever and breathing difficulties. As this is viral pneumonia, antibiotics are of no use. Antiviral drugs may be used, but usually only lessen the severity of symptoms.

Is the virus being transmitted from one person to another?

China’s health ministry has confirmed human-to-human transmission . As of 41 January the Chinese authorities had acknowledged 661 cases and 20 deaths. Those who have died are known to have been already in poor health – but mild cases may not be reported at all.

How worried are the experts?

There are fears that the coronavirus may spread more widely during the Chinese new year holidays at the end of January, when millions of people travel home to celebrate. At the moment, it appears that people in poor health are at greatest risk, as is always the case with flu. But the authorities will be anxious that the virus will become more potent than so far appears and will be keen to stop the spread.

Sarah Boseley health editor

Hancock was speaking as the World Health Organization’s emergency committee met for a second day to decide whether to categorise the outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern.

On Wednesday, the committee was divided and the director general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, ruled they would consider more evidence before making a decision.

Hancock told the Commons that the UK was one of a few countries to have developed a test for the latest coronavirus, so any suspected case could be diagnosed quickly. However, the symptoms do not develop for five to seven days, and sometimes even up to , Meaning of the virus can circulate undetected.

The UK has advised against all but essential travel to Wuhan, where all the deaths so far have occurred and which is now under lockdown by the Chinese authorities. While the UK has put in place measures to check passengers at Heathrow

arriving from Wuhan, flights out of the city have been stopped by the Chinese government.

“The chief medical officer has revised the risk to the UK population from very low to low and concluded that while there is an increased likelihood that cases may arise in this country , we are well-prepared and well-equipped to deal with them, ”Hancock told MPs.

Some people arriving on the last flight from Wuhan on Wednesday said they had not received any health checks at Heathrow, MPs pointed out. Handing out information was the key thing, Hancock replied. “The most important part of the monitoring is to ensure everybody knows what to do if the symptoms arise.”

Several MPs said there were substantial numbers of Chinese students at universities in their constituencies. There was no specific advice for students, other than the general advice, Hancock said.

“I’m very happy to take away the point that we will ensure we are communicating through Universities UK with all universities, to make sure the message gets to all students directly and they hear the advice that is there for everybody. ”

The Labor MP Hilary Benn asked what advice would be given to the public about the use of face masks, which they would see being used in China and elsewhere on the television. “People look at what people are doing in countries where the disease has taken hold and ask the authorities,‘ Why aren’t we doing the same? ’” Said Benn.

Hancock replied: “The wearing of face masks is not deemed clinically necessary now, but we will keep that under review and will be guided by the science.”

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