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UK Government Declares Coronavirus 'Serious And Imminent' Threat To Public Health

The move gives the government additional powers to fight the spread of the virus.

Jake Massey, LadBible, Feb 10, 2020

A spokesperson for Department for Health and Social Care said: "The Secretary of State has made regulations to ensure that the public are protected as far as possible from the transmission of the virus.

"The Secretary of State declares that the incidence or transmission of novel coronavirus constitutes a serious and imminent threat to public health, and the measures outlined in these regulations are considered as an effective means of delaying or preventing further transmission of the virus.

"We are strengthening our regulations so we can keep individuals in supported isolation for their own safety and if public health professionals consider they may be at risk of spreading the virus to other members of the public.

"This measure will rightly make it easier for health professionals to help keep people safe across the country."

Health Secretary Matt Hancock also designated Arrowe Park Hospital in the Wirral, and Kents Hill Park in Milton Keynes as 'isolation' facilities.

The move comes after China announced that 97 people died from the virus on Sunday - the most in a single day since the outbreak began in Wuhan in mid-December.

The coronavirus death toll in the country now stands at 908, surpassing the 2003 Sars epidemic.

Yesterday (Sunday), a fourth person in the UK was diagnosed with coronavirus.

Professor Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England, said the latest UK patient had been transferred to a specialist NHS centre at the Royal Free hospital in north London.

In a statement, he said: "We are now using robust infection control measures to prevent any possible further spread of the virus.

"The NHS is extremely well prepared to manage these cases and treat them, and we are working quickly to identify any further contacts the patient has had.

"This patient followed NHS advice by self-isolating rather than going to A&E."

Meanwhile, a further 60 people on board the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship have been confirmed to have the virus.

The ship has been docked in the Japanese port of Yokohama while passengers have undergone tests, which began after an 80-year-old man from Hong Kong who had been on the ship fell ill with the virus.

The number of confirmed cases from the vessel now stands at 130.

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