Since the outbreak of the disease, more than 160 people in the UK have been tested for Wuhan novel coronavirus infection. The chief medical officer has finally confirmed that two patients have been diagnosed positive for the virus. Both individuals are now under treatment in Newcastle.

Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, announced that two individuals who are related to each other, have tested positive for the Wuhan novel coronavirus. Since the diagnosis, the patients have been taken to a hospital in Newcastle for treatment.

Whitty shared that the patients were receiving treatment from a National Health Service specialist. Infection control measures being used are similar to those adopted during the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) outbreak. According to Whitty, the NHS had been preparing for the eventuality of patients testing positive for the virus.

Novel Coronavirus
Medical staff in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak Photo: AFP / STR

Aside from the fact that the patients belong to the same family, no other information has been shared. The identity of the patients, where they are from, and if they have travelled to the United Kingdom from China remains unknown. While patient confidentiality is being maintained, those who have come in contact with the patients are being tracked down.

Sharon Peacock, the director of the national infection service at Public Health England, confirmed that those who have come in contact with the two infected individuals are being tracked down. A team is working to investigate and identify those who could have been exposed to the virus. By testing those individuals, onward transmission of the virus can be prevented.

The Guardian reported that Newcastle Royal Victoria Infirmary is one of the high-consequence infectious disease units in the UK where patients can be isolated and treated. Other such well-prepared units where patients can receive treatment are in London and Liverpool.

While the World Health Organisation declared the Wuhan novel coronavirus as an international emergency, the risk level of the virus in the UK has been raised from low to moderate.

A few patients have recovered after being diagnosed with the virus. However, the death toll, as well as the patient count, keeps increasing at an alarming rate daily.