Coronavirus outbreak declared 'serious and imminent threat to public health' as four more test positive
Health bosses have raised the UK’s level of risk for the coronavirus as another four patients test positive for the disease.
And Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said the "incidence or transmission of novel Coronavirus constitutes a serious and imminent threat to public health".
Chief medical officer for England Professor Chris Whitty said: "Four further patients in England have tested positive for novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the UK to eight.
"The new cases are all known contacts of a previously confirmed UK case, and the virus was passed on in France.
"The patients have been transferred to specialist NHS centres at Guy's and St Thomas' and The Royal Free hospitals, and we are now using robust infection control measures to prevent further spread of the virus.”
Based on the World Health Organization’s declaration that this is a public health emergency of international concern, the UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the public from low to moderate.
The Press Association says it understands the decision to declare coronavirus a "serious and imminent threat to public health" was in response to a patient attempting to leave isolation.
A Government source said "there was someone who was threatening to abscond from Arrowe Park" despite all those who returned on the evacuation flight signing a contract agreeing to a 14-day quarantine period.
"The transmission of coronavirus would represent a serious and imminent threat so to prevent that we are taking action to enforce isolation of certain individuals.”
Airline easyJet confirmed one of its passengers was among those who have tested positive. A spokesperson said: "EasyJet has been notified by the public health authority that a customer who had recently travelled on one of its flights has since been diagnosed with the coronavirus.
"Public Health England is contacting all passengers who were seated in the vicinity of the customer on flight EZS8481 from Geneva to London Gatwick on 28 January to provide guidance in line with procedures.
"As the customer was not experiencing any symptoms, the risk to others on board the flight is very low.”
For the latest advice visit gov.uk/coronavirus.