Published on Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Health alert issued for travellers to China


Public Health England has issued new advice for Britons travelling to China following an outbreak of the potentially deadly respiratory infection coronavirus in Wuhan City.

And the UK will begin monitoring direct flights from Wuhan to London.

So far, there have been 440 reported cases of the virus, including two in Thailand, one in Japan and one in South Korea plus some in the US following travel to Wuhan. There have also been other cases in other cities in China. Nine people have died.

PHE said the risk to travellers to Wuhan is low, but added that the situation is under constant review.

Dr Nick Phin, Deputy Director, National Infection Service, Public Health England, said: "Based on the available evidence, the current risk to the UK is very low. We are working with the WHO and other international partners, have issued advice to the NHS and are keeping the situation under constant review.

"People travelling to Wuhan should maintain good hand, respiratory and personal hygiene and should avoid visiting animal and bird markets or people who are ill with respiratory symptoms. 

"Individuals should seek medical attention if they develop respiratory symptoms within 14 days of visiting Wuhan, either in China or on their return to the UK, informing their health service prior to their attendance about their recent travel to the city."

The UK health secretary Matt Hancock will announce later today that the UK will begin monitoring the three flights a week that arrive in Heathrow direct from Wuhan.

The aircraft are expected to land in an isolated area of Terminal 4 and be met by a health team. Passengers will be handed leaflets explaining the virus and ask to report to the team if they are suffering from any of the known symptoms. 

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