The Guardian’s political correspondent Kate Proctor is tweeting more information about the two UK coronavirus patients announced this morning, gleaned from a Department for Health and Social Care briefing.
PA Media has more details on the two UK’s first two coronavirus patients.
Two members of the same family have tested positive for coronavirus in England, the agency reports, adding that sources said they were being treated at a hospital in Newcastle.
On Wednesday night, an apartment-hotel in Yorkshire was put on lockdown when a man, understood to be a Chinese national, was taken to hospital after falling ill. The man, who was a guest at the Staycity Hotel in the centre of York, was taken by medics to hospital, together with family members.
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Here are some more photos that have been passed to Michael Standaert, who is reporting from China on the coronavirus outbreak for the Guardian, showing nurses having to make their own surgical masks from spare cloth because of a lack of supplies.
Those who have been following the story will know that only masks above a certain grade – the so-called N95 masks – are able to filter the particles that can lead to infection with coronavirus.
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Thailand has had its first case of human-to-human transmission of the new coronavirus inside the country, Reuters reports.
The first patient to contract the virus inside Thailand is a Thai taxi driver, said Tanarak Pipat, the deputy director general of the department of disease Control. “(He) … does not have the record of traveling to China, and it is likely that he was infected (by) a sick traveller from China,” Tanarak said.
Authorities have conducted virus scans on 13 people, including three family members, with whom the taxi driver came into contact. They said initially none of them had tested positive.
“The overall risk of infection in Thailand is still low, but people should take precautions to protect themselves,” Tanarak said.
The taxi driver is one of five new coronavirus cases confirmed in Thailand on Friday. Seven of the 19 cases have recovered and gone home while 12 are still being treated at hospitals. All but two of the cases are Chinese tourists visiting the country, the health authority said.
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Scientists have been giving their reactions to the first diagnoses of coronavirus in the UK. The general consensus appears to be that it is not a surprise and was only a matter of time until we saw the first cases appear on our shores.
Prof Paul Hunter, Professor in Medicine, University of East Anglia, said:
The report of the first two cases diagnosed positive for 2019-nCoV in the UK is not surprising and was almost inevitable. The chief medical officer’s statement gives no information on where these two members of the same family acquired their infection. The two cases are members of the same family but no information has been released about whether both cases will have been infected simultaneously or whether one would have passed the infection to the other.
The NHS is well able to nurse people with this novel coronavirus as it has successfully and safely managed a number of cases of both Sars and Mers in the past. With the information available it is not possible to judge what risk if any there may be of spread within the community.
Prof John Edmunds, from the Centre for the Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said:
This event, whilst unwelcome, is not surprising. However, the UK authorities have been preparing for this for some time, and it seems as if appropriate measures are being taken to limit onward spread.
Dr Michael Head, senior research fellow in global health, University of Southampton, said:
The UK cases are unsurprising to see. Given the spread to other European and North American countries, it was really only a matter of time until the UK ended up with confirmed cases.
Hopefully, as seen elsewhere, the case numbers will be very limited. The key concern will be if there is significant human to human transmission.
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A German military aircraft will shortly be departing for Wuhan to repatriate more than 100 German nationals.
Announcing the plan on Friday, the foreign minister, Heiko Maas, said that none of the German evacuees are infected with the coronavirus or suspected of having contracted it.
Maas said the plane would arrive in Germany on Saturday and the evacuees would be kept in quarantine for two weeks.
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This is where approximately 300 Indian students arriving back in their home country from Wuhan will be kept for the next couple of weeks.
Sam Jones, the Guardian’s Madrid correspondent, has some details on the international passengers on the British repatriation flight that took off from China this morning.
The Spanish government said a flight carrying 19 Spanish citizens had left China in the early hours of Friday morning and was due to land outside London at 1.30pm local time.
Spanish citizens will then be flown to Torrejón military airport near Madrid.
The plane is carrying 120 passengers, of whom 19 are Spanish, one is a Polish citizen resident in Spain, and one is a Chinese citizen married to a Spaniard. Two Danish couples and a Norwegian citizen will also be on the plane from the UK to Madrid. Also onboard are 83 British citizens.
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The Department of Health has declined to say where in England the patients were from but it is understood they are not in the Wirral area, where a special facility has been set up to quarantine Britons evacuated from Wuhan, in China.
Here’s more from Chris Whitty, emphasising that the NHS is well-prepared for a positive test:
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.
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First coronavirus cases confirmed in UK
Two patients in England, who are members of the same family, have tested positive for coronavirus, the chief medical officer for England, Prof Chris Whitty, said.
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Bangladesh is preparing a flight to repatriate more than 340 Bangladeshi citizens in Wuhan, the New Age reports.
According to the paper, a wide-body aircraft is to leave Dhaka for Wuhan on Friday evening, after Chinese authorities allotted it a slot to operate a special flight for Bangladeshis stuck in the locked-down city.
Zahid Maleque, the health minister, said on Thursday Bangladesh was “fully prepared” to tackle coronavirus, that all passengers arriving in the country from China were being screened, and that so far none had been detected with coronavirus.
An isolation unit has been prepared at Kurmitola General hospital, Maleque said.
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Doctors in Wuhan forced to improvise protective gear
These pictures from one of the hospitals in Wuhan, the city at the centre of the outbreak, show medical workers resorting to wearing the plastic covers originally used to pack medical supplies because of a shortage of protective gear.
They have been provided to the Guardian by a doctor working at Wuhan union hospital.
The publication of the images come amid a row over emergency medical supplies not getting to the correct places.
Michael Standaert, who is reporting for the Guardian from China, earlier reported how the Red Cross Society of Hubei has come under fire from Chinese netizens who say the charity is sending high-quality medical grade N95 filtration masks to hospitals that are not at the centre of the outbreak nor fever clinics in the greatest need of masks.
The Red Cross subsequently released a statement saying their announcement was mislabelled and it should have said they were KN95 masks, not N95 masks, which is why those other hospitals got them and not the frontline treatment hospitals.
But a chief executive of a company that makes high-quality face masks in China cast doubt on the claim. “To me that sounds like quite the excuse,” he said.
“N95 and KN95 uses exactly the same standards. N95 is the CDC NIOSH standard, that’s the US standard. The Chinese standard – the guobiao standard – is called the KN95. In Europe, it is FFP2, it is 94% [filtration] but it is the same standard. All of those standards require the masks to be able to filter out a rate of 95% of particles at peak breath rate.”
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Students at Melbourne’s Monash university have been told to stay away from campus until mid-March, in an effort by its administrators avoid the spread of coronavirus among its student community.
The 83,000 students who study across Monash’s six campuses had been expecting to return from their summer holidays on 2 March, but the beginning of term has been pushed back to 9 March, with the first week taught online via livestreamed lectures. Campus will not be opened for lectures and seminars until 16 March.
In an email sent to students, seen by Australian newspaper The Age, the deputy vice-chancellor, Prof Susan Elliott, said:
The novel coronavirus has created an unprecedented situation where some of our community of students and staff will not make it back in time from affected areas or isolation in time for the commencement of semester one, 2020. We have made these decisions to ensure the entire Monash student and staff body is able to begin the semester together with the highest regard for community wellbeing.
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France confirms sixth case and first human to human transmission
A doctor has become the sixth patient diagnosed with coronavirus in France, the country’s health chief Jérôme Salomon announced on Thursday night.
The patient confined himself after first developing symptoms, and is currently in hospital in Paris, where is condition is said to be not a cause for concern, Le Parisien reports.
The French health directorate says it is the first reported case of contamination on French soil.