Public Health England Bulletin 23 Jan 2020.
You’ll no doubt be aware of the increasing media interest in Wuhan novel coronavirus and you may also be receiving queries. There are not yet any cases of Wuhan in the UK, but enhanced measures have been put in place for direct flights into Heathrow from Wuhan and we continue to advise travellers. The UK has updated its travel advice to advise only essential travel to Wuhan.
Please direct any media to our national statement: Wuhan novel coronavirus and avian flu: advice for travel to China. We are not currently providing any comment at regional level in addition to this. We will keep you informed as the situation evolves.
Should you need any key messages to brief colleagues, the current ones are:
Wuhan novel coronavirus briefing, situation as at 23 January:
Background: On 31 December 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) was informed of a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. On 12 January 2020 it was announced that a novel coronavirus had been identified in samples obtained from cases and that initial analysis of virus genetic sequences suggested that this was the cause of the outbreak. PHE is currently using the name Wuhan novel coronavirus (WN-CoV), in the absence of internationally accepted names for the virus and the disease/syndrome it causes. Further information on the disease is available here.
- There are currently no confirmed cases of Wuhan novel coronavirus in the UK. Health partners have been carefully monitoring the situation in Wuhan for some time and have put in place proportionate, precautionary measures.
- The risk to the UK population has been assessed as low.
- Based on the emerging evidence regarding case numbers, potential sources and human to human transmission, the risk to travellers to Wuhan is moderate. The UK has updated its travel advice to advise only essential travel to Wuhan.
- PHE is working with the WHO and other international partners, have issued advice to the NHS and are keeping the situation under constant review. The NHS is well prepared to manage and treat new diseases and PHE has developed a diagnostic test becoming one of the first countries outside China to have a prototype specific laboratory test for this novel disease.
- Enhanced monitoring is now in place from all direct flights from Wuhan to the UK (although these flights are currently cancelled). The enhanced monitoring package includes a number of measures that will help to provide advice to travellers if they feel unwell.
- The risk to visitors to Wuhan is moderate reflecting an increase in the number of cases being identified in China and evidence that the virus has limited spread from person to person. If you are travelling to the area, you should maintain good hand, respiratory and personal hygiene and should avoid visiting animal and bird markets or people who are ill with respiratory symptoms. Individuals should seek medical attention if they develop respiratory symptoms within 14 days of visiting Wuhan, either in China or on their return to the UK. They should phone ahead before attending any health services and mention their recent travel to the city.
- Further information is available here and will be kept under constant review and updated accordingly.