Scotland

China coronavirus: Two tested in Scotland given all-clear

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Image caption People are taking precautions against the virus around the world

Two of the five people people being tested for coronavirus in Scotland have been given the all-clear.

The chief medical officer for England said on Friday that 14 people tested in the UK had been found to be free of the virus.

The Scottish government said this included two of the Scottish cases.

The three other patients being treated in Scotland are awaiting test results. Four out of the five are Chinese nationals.

All of those tested had recently visited Wuhan where the outbreak originated. Checks are ongoing on other people.

Globally there are more than 1,300 confirmed cases of the virus which has killed 41 people in China.

An incident team was set up to deal with the threat of coronavirus in Scotland as the tests were being carried out.

England's chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty, said there had been no confirmed cases of coronavirus, following a meeting of the government's Cobra emergency committee in Whitehall, but he said there was a "fair chance" Britain would see some.

BBC Scotland understands that one of those tested in Edinburgh was a Chinese student who had become unwell after visiting family in Wuhan.

He was believed to have first been in the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary before being transferred to the Western, where the Regional Infectious Diseases Unit is located.

It is not known where the other patients were being treated.

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Image caption Countries, including South Korea, are taking extra precautions to try to prevent the spread of the virus

The Scottish government previously said two of those being tested had already been diagnosed with flu. Three others were being tested on a precautionary basis.

Scotland's chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood said: "Scotland is well prepared for these types of outbreaks - we have a proven track record of dealing with challenging health issues and the UK was one of the first countries in the world to develop a test for the new virus.

"I am being kept fully informed about the precautionary steps being taken, including timely updates on the patients who are currently being tested."

Officials are now attempting to trace as many as 2,000 visitors who have flown in to the UK from Wuhan.

In a statement, Prof Whitty said he was working closely with the other UK chief medical officers.

"We all agree that the risk to the UK public remains low, but there may well be cases in the UK at some stage," he said.

He said global experts were monitoring the situation around-the-clock and had a strong track record of managing new forms of infectious disease.

A public health hub is being set up at Heathrow, consisting of clinicians and other public health officials.

How is the outbreak affecting Chinese students in Scotland?

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  • Dundee University has 34 students from Wuhan studying in Dundee as a result of its partnership with Wuhan University. Five members of staff returned from a visit to Wuhan last week. No health concerns have been raised.
  • Aberdeen University said five of its staff members visited Wuhan recently. Four returned to the university three or more weeks ago while the fourth is working from home as a precautionary measure.
  • Any students who have been in China, or other areas where incidents of infection have been reported, within the last 14 days, and are experiencing respiratory symptoms, should contact their GP or NHS 24.
  • Students should be careful if receiving packages from areas where the virus is present, especially if they contain food items.

The city of Wuhan, where 11 million people live, is effectively on lockdown: all bus, subway and ferry services have been suspended and all outbound planes and trains cancelled.

Residents have been advised not to leave, and roadblocks have been reported.

Travel restrictions are also in place across 13 cities, home to more than 36 million people.

The virus has spread to the US, Japan, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan and South Korea.

The new strain of coronavirus is believed to have originated at a market in Wuhan. One resident of the city said the atmosphere felt like "the end of the world".


Learn more about the new virus

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