First people diagnosed with Coronavirus in UK being treated at Newcastle hospital

The first confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK are being treated at a hospital in Newcastle.

Friday, 31st January 2020, 12:12 pm

Two members of the same family have tested positive for the virus.

It is not yet known where in England the patients are from but they are being treated in Newcastle, chief medical officer for England Professor Chris Whitty said.

The first cases of the virus to be diagnosed in the UK were announced as more than 80 Britons on an evacuation flight from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak, were due to land in the UK.

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British nationals anticipated to return on a government-organised flight to bring UK citizens back from coronavirus-hit Wuhan are expected to be quarantined on a military base on their return. Photo credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

The flight is scheduled to land at Brize Norton RAF base in Oxfordshire and those on board will be taken to a special quarantine facility in the Wirral.

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 to hospital, along with family members.

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Coaches enter RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, where a plane carrying British nationals from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China, is due to arrive on Friday. Photo credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

In a statement on Friday about the first two confirmed UK cases, Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said: "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 Organisation and the international community as the outbreak in China develops to ensure we are ready for all eventualities."

Coaches enter RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, where a plane carrying British nationals from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China, is due to arrive on Friday. Photo credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

There are four Airborne High Consequences Infectious Disease Centres (HCIDs) in England which are specially equipped to receive people with illnesses such as coronavirus.

These are Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust, and Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

It comes as ministers said the Government will send another plane to coronavirus-hit Wuhan to rescue British citizens if needed.

Speaking to Sky News on Friday, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said: "The flight which is the air at the moment is not the end of our efforts.

"It is only one part that we are doing in order to keep people safe.

"We will do everything we can to ensure that every UK citizen, every UK national, every member of their family is contacted, supported.

"If we need to, we will send another plane."

Chinese health officials said on Friday morning that the death toll in the country from the virus had risen to 213, up from 170 a day earlier, with the number of known cases rising from 7,711 to 9,692.

No deaths have occurred outside China, although 82 cases have been confirmed across 18 countries.