Third British national to contract coronavirus diagnosed in Brighton
Yesterday, it was confirmed that a middle-aged man from the Brighton area has been diagnosed with coronavirus.
It is understood that he caught the virus in Singapore, and is now receiving treatment at a hospital in London. This is the first UK case in which the virus was contracted outside mainland China.
What exactly is coronavirus?
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.
The ‘novel coronavirus’ (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been identified in humans before. Common signs of infection include fever, cough and shortness of breath. This new strain originated from the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Largely, the virus spreads when infected people cough droplets containing the virus into the air that then infect those breathing nearby.
Should we panic?
In a word, no. Owing to the fact that, in extremely severe cases, coronavirus can cause death, the spread of the virus to the UK has caused a significant degree of anxiety amongst the public.
However, UK Chief Medical Officers have advised that the risk to individuals remains low. It is also worth bearing in mind that only one-in-five cases of the virus are considered severe, and that work to develop a vaccine is already underway.
What are we being advised to do?
UK Chief Medical Officers are advising anyone who has travelled to the UK from mainland China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the last 14 days and is experiencing a cough, fever or shortness of breath to stay indoors and call NHS 111, even if symptoms are mild.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised UK nationals in China to leave where possible, and to avoid travelling to the country.
Standard recommendations to prevent the spread of infection include regular hand washing, covering the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and thoroughly cooking meat and eggs.
Featured image: © Wikimedia Commons.