In a statement, Professor Chris Whitty, said: “We can confirm that two patients in England, who are members of the same family, have tested positive for coronavirus.
“The NHS is extremely well-prepared and used to managing infections and we are already working rapidly to identify any contacts the patients had, to prevent further spread.
“We have been preparing for UK cases of novel coronavirus and we have robust infection control measures in place to respond immediately.
“We are continuing to work closely with the World Health Organisation and the international community as the outbreak in China develops to ensure we are ready for all eventualities.”
Today, 80 people will land in the UK from Wuhan, the central Chinese city considered to be the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.
The jet left Wuhan at 9.45am local time on Friday, carrying 83 Britons and 27 non-UK nationals, mostly from EU countries.
It is expected to arrive at the Brize Norton RAF base in Oxfordshire around 1pm, the Foreign Office confirmed.
Last night, many posted selfies at the airport as they were evacuated out of Wuhan, showing they were wearing face masks in an attempt to stop its spread.
The government previously warned that those showing symptoms of coronavirus would not be allowed to board the plane for the UK.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said those returning to the UK from China will be kept in quarantine for two weeks, ‘safely isolated with all necessary medical attention’.
The patients are likely to be being treated at one of four UK hospitals – The Royal Free and Guy’s in London, Liverpool or Newcastle – where they have dedicated isolation units.
At least 213 people have died in China due to the outbreak with almost 10,000 cases nationally.
They confirmed there are now 98 cases in 18 countries outside China, while there have been eight involving human-to-human transmission in Germany, Japan, Vietnam and the US.
A statement read:
“So far we have not seen any deaths outside China, for which we must all be grateful. Although these numbers are still relatively small compared to the number of cases in China, we must all act together now to limit further spread.
“The vast majority of cases outside China have a travel history to Wuhan, or contact with someone with a travel history to Wuhan.
“We don’t know what sort of damage this virus could do if it were to spread in a country with a weaker health system.
“We must act now to help countries prepare for that possibility.
“For all of these reasons, I am declaring a public health emergency of international concern over the global outbreak of novel coronavirus.
“The main reason for this declaration is not because of what is happening in China, but because of what is happening in other countries.”
Following the announcement, British medical officers increased the risk level in the UK from low to moderate.
More to follow…
Charismatic, witty, charming, engaging - four things Joshua Rogers will never be. Thankfully, he’s a semi-competent editor, who, after graduating university with two mostly pointless degrees, joined The Hook two years ago. He subsequently honed his writing skills over several features and investigative pieces, arguably letting The Hook audience in on way too much of his personal life.