Coronavirus: Five patients in Scotland tested for deadly disease from China

Doctors are testing at least five patients in Scotland who are suspected of having coronavirus, according to the Scottish Government.

While none of the cases have been confirmed so far, two had been diagnosed with influenza after travelling to Wuhan, China, where the outbreak is thought to have originated.The other three are "undergoing testing on a similar precautionary basis", a statement said on Thursday evening.A spokeswoman for the government said: “There are currently no confirmed cases of Coronavirus (WN Co-V) in Scotland and the risk to the Scottish public remains low.

“Following travel to Wuhan, China, two people confirmed as diagnosed with influenza are now being tested for Wuhan Novel Coronavirus as a precautionary measure only. Three further people are also undergoing testing on a similar precautionary basis.

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“As the situation develops we will update should there be any confirmed cases of Coronavirus, rather than provide a running update on cases being considered on a precautionary basis.

It has been reported that two patients at Glasgow's Queen Elizabeth Hospital (top) have been isolated. The outbreak of coronavirus began in China (bottom).It has been reported that two patients at Glasgow's Queen Elizabeth Hospital (top) have been isolated. The outbreak of coronavirus began in China (bottom).
It has been reported that two patients at Glasgow's Queen Elizabeth Hospital (top) have been isolated. The outbreak of coronavirus began in China (bottom).

“We are co-orientating with Health Protection Scotland a daily Incident Management Team to continue to monitor the situation as it develops, including on the number of any potential cases going forward.”Professor Jurgen Haas, who is the Head of Infection Medicine and Professor for Viral Genomics at the University of Edinburgh, said he believes there will be many more cases from other cities in the UK.

He said three cases were in Edinburgh, but added that a fourth is believed to be in Glasgow.

Tests are currently being carried out and none of the patients have been confirmed as having the disease.

They all travelled to Scotland from Wuhan, where the outbreak is thought to have originated, within the past two weeks and are showing symptoms of respiratory trouble, a red flag for the virus.

Speaking to the BBC, Professor Haas said all three patients had respiratory symptoms and had been in Wuhan within the last 14 days and that it was "very likely" that cases would be confirmed in the UK.

"In any European countries there is a danger that these cases occur," he said. "Here at the University of Edinburgh we have more than 2,000 students from China and they are always coming and going back to China so we are relatively sure we will have cases in the UK from travellers coming back from China."

He warned that the spread of the virus might increase as more people travelled around for Chinese New Year, within China and to other countries.

Fourth patient in Glasgow

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A source at Glasgow's Queen Elizabeth hospital told the Daily Record that outbreak and control measures are in place at the ward where at least one patient is being treated in isolation.

Special measures include sterile suits for staff and patients being kept in strict isolation.

The source said: "There was no doubt that the situation was being taken seriously because of the symptoms being displayed and the specific origin of travel.

“The patient came through London to Glasgow and after the symptoms were flagged up no chances were taken.

“The tests that were carried out could not immediately isolate what the condition might be and it may take a bit longer to be absolutely sure what doctors are dealing with.

“Obviously they are erring on the side of caution in the meantime.”

The Scotsman has approached the NHS and Scottish Government for comment.

Government 'closely monitoring' virus

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said the Scottish Government is "closely monitoring" a virus which has spread from China.

She was asked at FMQs by SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson about the steps being taken to ensure the safety of Scots after the disease killed 17 people and infected nearly 600.

It is believed the disease, known as coronavirus, emanated from a market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, which has an international airport connecting to 60 destinations across the world.

The First Minister said: "I can assure Kenny Gibson and indeed the chamber that, together with Health Protection Scotland, we are very closely monitoring what is a very rapidly evolving situation.

"I should say, that the risk to the public here in Scotland - and indeed the UK - is currently classified as low but that is kept under review.

"Health Protection Scotland are liaising with NHS boards and are currently in daily contact with Public Health England, we're also liaising daily with colleagues in the UK Department of Health - we're also paying very close attention to the advice and the decisions that come from the World Health Organisation."

She added: "Advanced monitoring measures are being put in place for flights between Wuhan City and Heathrow, that will involve each flight being met by a port health team who will check for coronavirus and provide information to all passengers.

"We're currently considering whether there is any further information that could be provided at Scottish airports.

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"This is an evolving situation which we will monitor extremely closely and the Health Secretary and I will make sure that Parliament is updated in the days and weeks to come."

The Chinese Government has effectively "locked down" Wuhan, with planes and trains being cancelled, along with the nearby city of Huanggang.