UK Government declares coronavirus “a serious and imminent threat to public health”
A UK resident has been linked to seven confirmed cases of coronavirus in England, France and Spain.
The UK Department of Health has declared that the coronavirus constitutes “a serious and imminent threat to public health” and has put measures in place to protect the public from the transmission of the virus.
A statement issued by the UK Department of Health on Monday morning (10 February) read: “In light of the recent public health emergency from the novel Coronavirus originating from Wuhan, Secretary of State has made regulations to ensure that the public are protected as far as possible from the transmission of the virus.
“In accordance with Regulation 3, 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.
“In accordance with Regulation 2, the Secretary of State designates Arrowe Park Hospital and Kents Hill Park as an “isolation” facility and Wuhan and Hubei province as an “infected area”.”
Under the regulations announced by the UK government, people with coronavirus could now be forcibly quarantined and would not be free to leave. They could also be forcibly sent into isolation if they posed a threat to public health.
The regulations come on the back of reports that a British man believed to have caught the virus in Singapore - whose diagnosis was confirmed last week and who has been transferred to an infectious diseases unit in a London hospital - is linked to seven confirmed cases of coronavirus in England, France and Spain, having visited a ski resort in France before returning to the UK.
On Sunday, the UK Department of Health said that four out of 795 tests concluded in the United Kingdom had returned as positive.
As of Monday morning, the death toll for the coronavirus has reached over 900 people, more than the global death toll for the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) virus in 2003.