London, Jan 31 (IANS) The UK on Friday confirmed the country’s first cases of the deadly novel coronavirus after two people were tested positive for the disease.
Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, said that the patients were both members of the same family and were receiving specialist National Health Services (NHS) care, the BBC reported.
“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,” Whitty said.
“We have been preparing for UK cases of novel coronavirus and we have robust infection control measures in place to respond immediately.”
Whitty said the UK was working closely with the World Health Organization and the international community as the outbreak in China develops “to ensure we are ready for all eventualities”, the BBC added.
No more details were released about the patients’ idenitity or where they were being treated.
As of Friday, China’s National health Commission confirmed the death of least 213 people in the country, mostly in Hubei, the epicentre of the outbreak, with 9,692 infected.
There have been 98 cases of the virus in another 18 countries, including the US.
The WHO on Thursday declared the outbreak as a global health emergency.
Outside of China, Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan, other countries with confirmed cases include Thailand, Japan, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, South Korea, the US, France, Germany, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Italy, Vietnam, Cambodia, Finland, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Philippines.
However, there were no deaths reported outside of China.