Cases of new coronavirus in the United Kingdom are highly likely, one of the country’s top health bosses said on Friday.
“I think it’s highly likely that we will have cases in the UK,” Professor Paul Cosford, emeritus medical director of Public Health England, told the BBC.
“We do have a whole range of plans ready to go when that is the case and these are being implemented now,” Cosford said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday declared the new coronavirus an emergency for China but stopped short of declaring the epidemic of international concern.
China stepped up measures to contain a virus that has killed 25 people and infected more than 800, with public transport suspended in 10 cities, the shutting of temples and the rapid construction of a hospital to treat the infected.
“There are no positive cases in the UK as yet but we will go on testing and those numbers will of course change,” Cosford said.
He said 5 people had been tested in the United Kingdom with negative results. He said further 9 were being tested. The tests take roughly 24 hours.
“We keep a constant monitoring position on the results,” Cosford said.