First cases of coronavirus are diagnosed in Britain as two English patients from the same family test positive for the killer Chinese virus
- Two family members are the first British patients to test positive
- They are already in England and not on the evacuation flight coming from China
- Another 83 people from Wuhan are flying back to the UK now and will land today
Two people in England have been diagnosed with the Wuhan coronavirus.
The patients are members of the same family and are the first people in England to be diagnosed with it on British soil.
Until today, at least 161 people had tested negative for the virus but none had been diagnosed with it.
The infection makes England the 23rd country or territory outside of China to declare the infection has spread there.
The Department of Health said it would not reveal any details of who the patients are or where they are being looked after.
It did, however, confirm that they are not in Wirral, Merseyside, where people being evacuated from the centre of the outbreak will be quarantined later today.
Ambulance crews arrive at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire this morning in preparation for an evacuation flight which is bringing people back from China
A coach arrives at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire this morning, 31 January as it prepares for a return flight from Wuhan carrying 83 British evacuees
Almost 10,000 people have been diagnosed with the coronavirus around the world. 213 people have died
Professor Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England said in a statement this morning: ‘We can confirm that two patients in England, who are members of the same family, have tested positive for coronavirus.
‘The patients are receiving specialist NHS care, and we are using tried and tested infection control procedures to prevent further spread of the virus.
‘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 Organization and the international community as the outbreak in China develops to ensure we are ready for all eventualities.’